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NY Voters Approve New Environmental Bond Act


Thursday, November 10, 2022   

New York voters approved the state borrowing $4.2 billion for robust climate-friendly projects.

The Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act will provide funds for school districts to get electric school buses and develop the infrastructure to charge them, make state-owned buildings green, and preserve farmland, just a sample of the projects the new funding will support.

Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said the law is a culmination of a multiyear effort, but as much as it accomplishes, she argued incentives for electric vehicles are needed.

"There's not money specifically in here for incentives to have New Yorkers buy electric cars, and I think that's going to be something that we need," Reynolds contended. "The plan is to phase out internal-combustion engine vehicles over time, but in order to get people to get started on that, they're going to have some incentives to have people buy electric cars."

The bond act was met with little opposition in the state Legislature and in the voting booth. According to unofficial data from the State Board of Elections, 59% of voters approved it. 28% voted against it and 12% left the option blank.

Although climate change was not a top issue for New Yorkers, it has been a necessity for the state. Reynolds pointed out there has been a need to update water infrastructure, among other improvements. She noted the money is not just for large statewide projects, but at the local level.

"A lot of the money will be helping communities, like municipalities," Reynolds explained. "For example, $150 million for farmland preservation, and some communities might have a farmland preservation plan; they might have a town goal to maintain farmland. But, this is the money that's going to help them do it."

Reynolds does not see another ballot measure like this one coming about in the near future, but if it should, she would want to see money allocated for upgrading New York's electric grid to make it more climate friendly.

Disclosure: The Alliance for Clean Energy New York contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, and the Environment. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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