Welcome to Federal Credit Fridays! The U.S. government is one of the largest lenders and credit guarantors on earth. Its portfolio is estimated at over $3.6 trillion, as measured by loan assets and the face value of loan guarantees. The government uses credit for a wide variety of policy missions, including housing, higher education, small businesses, rural and urban economic development, infrastructure, and export promotion, among others. This podcast will familiarize you with the vast world of federal credit, and we hope that you’ll learn about similarities and differences between these programs as well as the importance of their work to achieving policy missions within the framework of public-private collaboration.
Today’s podcast focuses on the recent federal investment boom in clean water infrastructure. New legislation has unlocked a significant amount of federal funding for drinking water infrastructure projects, and the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan Act represent a significant increase in federal water infrastructure funding. However, despite record funding, many struggling communities—both rural and urban—lack the ability to apply for the funding and perhaps may not even know it is available.
In small rural communities, water infrastructure leaders and decision-makers are often part-time retirees with little professional staff or support. They may struggle to develop a capital plan, complete a compliant application, or perform a self-assessment. This challenge of access may severely limit the impact of these federal investments and requires innovative solutions that go beyond funding. To dig more into this, I’ve switched up the Federal Credit Fridays format just a bit.
This podcast features two guests who each bring deep experience in water infrastructure and are on the front lines of new clean water projects, Michael Gaughan and Eric Law. Gaughan is executive director and secretary of the Vermont Bond Bank, and he was previously a director for the National Development Council, a national community development finance nonprofit. At the National Development Council, he served as a public finance banker focused on governmental, housing, and community facilities transactions.
Next, Eric Law is a manager at Summit Consulting, where he advises clients on federal infrastructure transactions. Prior to joining Summit, Law was state program director for the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program for the states of New Hampshire and Vermont. Law also served at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the State Revolving Fund, where he guided investment in clean water infrastructure. Over his career, Law has guided hundreds of millions of dollars in community and infrastructure investments.
I really hope you enjoy hearing from Michael Gaughan and Eric Law—I certainly enjoyed interviewing them. Listen below and let us know what you think.