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EFC at Syracuse University selected to provide technical assistance for EPA pilot program

February 05, 2010

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The Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University (EFC-SU) has announced that it is providing technical assistance to New York State’s Environmental Facilities Corp. (NYSEFC) for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pilot Technical Assistance Program. The program is part of the recently formed HUD-DOT-EPA Sustainable Communities Partnership.

“These states will serve as models for other states and the federal government,” says Assistant EPA Administrator Mathy Stanislaus, “Our nation’s water infrastructure is aging quietly beneath our feet. It is in need of improvement and investment.”

New York is one of three states chosen by the EPA to participate in this pilot project. The EFC-SU, an affiliated center of the Syracuse Center of Excellence, will work with the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation (NYSEFC), which is able to provide incentives to encourage funding toward more sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure investments. The EPA announced the pilot program participants at the New Partnership for Livable Communities Conference on Thursday, Feb. 4, in Seattle.

New York State’s unique relationship with the EFC-SU presents an ideal opportunity for cooperation and partnership in achieving common goals. The EFC-SU will work with the NYSEFC, which is able to provide incentives to encourage funding toward more sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure investments. These incentives include adjustments to project priority-setting systems, voluntary state set-asides and strategic use of subsidies.

“States have considerable authority in developing their intended use plans and making infrastructure investment decisions, and we will work with the Environmental Facilities Corp. to include incentives that promote more energy-efficient design and better management, discourage unnecessary sprawl and over-built infrastructure, and encourage innovation in funded projects,” says Sara Pesek, director of the Environmental Finance Center.

The aim of the pilot project is to promote more widespread adoption of practices that encourage reinvestment and efficiency in infrastructure systems. To do this, the New York State partnership will identify opportunities to incorporate these best management practices into the priority systems, and intended use plans, and to incentivize smart growth, energy efficiency, asset management and green infrastructure through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF).

“The corporation is proud to be selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to participate in the Pilot Technical Assistance Program,” says NYSEFC President and CEO Matthew J. Driscoll. “The New York State Clean Water State Revolving Fund will serve as a great example of how to ‘green’ water quality projects in an accessible and cost-effective way for communities across the nation. I look forward to working with EPA and the Environmental Finance Center to make this program a success and move the state closer to meeting Gov. Paterson’s energy-reduction goals.”

The pilot program will provide technical assistance to New York, California and Maryland to modify their existing Clean Water SRF programs to ensure their state water infrastructure investments are used to promote more sustainable investments.

The Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University is tasked by the EPA with facilitating the development of sustainable communities. As an affiliated center with the Syracuse Center of Excellence, the EFC-SU leverages more than 200 SyracuseCoE partners to connect local government officials and private organizations with technical assistance, assessment tools and funding offered by its large network of collaborators and resources. EFC also provides professional training and community outreach to engage, educate and enable the public to make their own change toward improved environmental infrastructure and quality of life.

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