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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — In her $227 billion budget, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposes $500 million in additional funding for clean water infrastructure. But some experts said it’s not enough to address New York’s clean water crisis.
“We have enormous clean water needs in New York. We have one hundred-year-old water mains that are constantly breaking, billions of gallons of raw sewage that is being discharged every single year and polluting our lakes and rivers. We need investments to make sure that when New Yorker’s turn on the tap, what’s coming out is safe to drink,” said Rob Hayes, Director of Clean Water at Environmental Advocates NY.
Water infrastructure projects can vary from upgrading water treatment plans with new technology to keep toxic chemicals out of drinking water to upgrading waste-water and sewage infrastructure.
Hayes said the current water infrastructure spending and grant program continues to fall short of funding one hundred percent of shovel ready projects that local governments submit because there is not enough funding to go around.
“When we don’t adequately fund clean water, that means that there are going to be projects left waiting in the wings and clean water benefits that won’t be reaching the New Yorker’s who need it most,” Hayes said.
In a recent environmental budget hearing, some lawmakers also expressed concern about local municipalities access to water infrastructure funding. Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D-41st Senate District) suggested creating a funding stream model that would increase this access.
Any funding changes for proposals like clean water infrastructure will come out in the final budget plan due on April 1.
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