Voters in New York are set to consider a larger bond act to shore up water and sewer systems in order to harden them against increasingly extreme weather events.
The proposed Environmental Bond Act, which had the initial price tag of $3 billion when proposed by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has now increased to a $4.2 billion proposal.
The measure and the added money was considered a win for advocates seeking more ways of curtailing the effects of climate change in New York as part of the $220 billion state budget. Measures meant to spur electric school buses, $500 million for offshore wind projects and $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund were also included in the final deal.
Nevertheless, Deputy Director of Environmental Advocates NY Kate Kuera said the spending won't go far enough to match the need.
"Finally, while the climate investments in this budget will speed the development of the offshore wind industry, we are disappointed that it failed to achieve the level of investment needed to match the urgency of the climate crisis and to jump-start the state’s transition off fossil fuels," she said.
The bond act is meant to upgrade water and sewer systems that can be prone to becoming overwhelmed during storms. Flash floods in the New York City area last year killed dozens of people and led to creeks and tributaries being quickly inundated with water.
Voters will have the final say over the borrowing plan this November.
“This budget once again represents record resources for important environmental programs,” said Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. “They serve as critical investments in New York’s ability to preserve and protect our communities and help us continue our national leadership in addressing the reality of climate change as it bears down upon us in the form of increasingly extreme weather.”