By: Hellen Zaboulani
New York will have the opportunity to vote for the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act, in the upcoming general election ballot on Nov. 8th.
As reported by Crain’s NY, this is the biggest environmental bond act in New York State history. The measure would authorize $4.2 billion in general obligation bonds for climate friendly endeavors. If passed, the act would reshape New York giving it a boast to achieve numerous climate goals, and allocating billions of dollars for climate adaptation and resilient infrastructure.
On Wednesday, a coalition of over 200 organizations launched a seven-figure media campaign hoping to urge voters to vote yes to the initiative. The campaign is being led by environmental advocates, business groups and labor unions who want more resources made available across the state towards these goals.
The money potentially made available by the act would target four major categories. As per Crain’s, over one billion would be earmarked for climate change mitigation. A second billion would go towards restoration and flood risk reduction. Over $650 million would be allocated towards water quality and resilient infrastructure. Another $650 million towards open space conservation and recreation. The last category includes upgrades to roads, bridges, and sewers; addressing sea-level rise and storm surges; renewable energy infrastructure; reducing air and water pollution; and green building projects.
Also, $500 million would be dedicated to helping the state’s public schools switch out about 50,000 gas-guzzling school buses with electric alternatives by the year 2035. “New York stands on the brink of a historic opportunity,” said Julie Tighe, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “[The bond act] would protect our water and air, shore up our infrastructure, and improve the quality of life in every part of the state—all while supporting thousands of good-paying jobs and investing in disadvantaged communities.”
Should the bond pass, in the vote in about 8 weeks from now, it is estimated that it would support the creation of at least 38,000 new jobs, as per a report by infrastructure consulting giant AECOM and Rebuild By Design. When leveraged funding is factored in, the report estimates that the act would ultimately support $8.71 billion in spending in NYS and 84,000 new jobs. Anne deBoer, manager of sustainable economics at AECOM, said the bond act gives voters an opportunity to “make investments in protecting the environment that will simultaneously benefit the economy.”
In 2020, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo had put forward a $3 billion bond named, Restore Mother Nature Bond Act of 2020. NY was set to vote on it in November 2020, but the pandemic had hit, and Cuomo had taken it off the table saying it would not be “financially prudent” to approve the measure in such difficult economic times.