We must invest in New York State’s environmental infrastructure, says Republican State Senator Mark Grisanti and Democratic Assembly Member Robert Sweeny, both Chairs of Environmental Conservation Committees in the State Legislature. Last week, Grisanti and Sweeny introduced legislation to create a $5 billion environmental bond to finance efforts to address New York State’s “crumbling infrastructure above and below ground.” A high priority on the lawmakers’ list is the State’s aging combined sewage and storm water systems, some of which have not been updated in over a century. Aging and limited-capacity storm water systems are responsible for significant sewage overflows throughout New York State. Other bond funds would be earmarked to protect water resources, address the State’s air quality, support Brownfield development, and back urban gardens. Historical precedence for the bond bill dates back to 1996, when New York State voters approved a similar $1.75 billion bond to finance infrastructure projects.
Formally titled the Clean Water/Clean Air/Green Jobs Bond Act of 2014, the bill, which was introduced by the lawmakers in the off-season, is expected to be the topic of much discussion before the State Legislature convenes in January, 2014. Ultimately, the two lawmakers expect that the bill will be in front of State voters in the November 2014 general election.