Environmental organizations, labor groups and Gov. Kathy Hochul are making a concerted push in recent days for the approval of a $4.2 billion bond plan to shore up the state's infrastructure against extreme weather events in the coming years.
Hochul on Wednesday in New York City at a joint event with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy urged voters to back the bond act in a coming referendum this November.
"I need to have everyone who cares about human life on this planet who lives in the state of New York to mobilize and make sure the vote gets out in support of this bond act," she said. "If it happens and the voters see the wisdom of this, and we hope they will, it can be a game-changing investment in our infrastructure for our energy future."
Broadly, the proposal would allow New York to borrow billions of dollars to shore up waterways, sewers and other flood-prone areas. At the same time, money would be spent on electric vehicle charging stations and open space programs.
The bond was initially proposed under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But the pandemic and financial uncertainty created by the public health crisis led officials to postpone the referendum until this year.
Advocacy organizations, including the Nature Conservancy, the New York League of Conservation Voters and the NYS Laborers’ Organizing Fund earlier this month announced a seven-figure media campaign to highlight their support for the proposal.
"Contaminants are showing up in our drinking water, and New York’s infrastructure systems weren’t designed to handle rising seas or the frequent, intense storms that are now common," said Bill Ulfelder, the executive director of the Nature Conservancy. "We must prepare now to face the future of an unstable climate, and the Bond Act is key to ensuring that we will be ready. We have the chance to invest in a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren, and it has never been more important than now.”
The referendum will be on the back of voters' ballots.