In 2019, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a $3 billion bond act to help shore up water and sewer infrastructure in need of being strengthened as extreme weather is expected to only grow in the coming years.
Gov. Kathy Hochul added $1 billion to the proposal. Democrats in the state Legislature want to add even more.
The one-house budget resolutions released by the two chambers of the Legislature could wind up doubling the original proposal, which had been shelved in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial uncertainty created by the crisis.
In the state Assembly, Democrats proposed a $5 billion borrowing plan. In the state Senate, the bond act would reach $6 billion. Known as the Environmental Bond Act, the provision would have to be given final approval by voters in a referendum.
Environmental organizations on Monday praised the efforts to add to the bond act as lawmakers also seek to boost efforts to transition the state to renewable energy in the coming decades.
"As we work to hit clean energy goals and slash fossil fuel use, we also applaud the Senate’s inclusion of a clean fuel standard for transportation, the electrification of new buildings, significant steps to reduce waste, and resiliency measures to protect wetlands," said Julie Tighe, the president of the New York League of Conversation Voters. "Action of this magnitude requires major investments to back it up: by proposing to increase the bond act to $6 billion, this will put impactful funding in place. That includes $1 billion for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, with funding for transit buses and support for electrifying all school buses by 2035. We thank Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Senator Kaminsky, and their colleagues for their leadership and investing in a green future."