Money to bolster water infrastructure in New York is being sought in a broader state budget deal as lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul negotiate a spending plan due at the end of the week.
Democratic state Sen. Michelle Hinchey on Wednesday along with advocates and technicians touted a $100 million proposal to strengthen water infrastructure in communities across the state.
Under the proposal, the money would be added to the state's Environmental Protection Fund. The move has the backing of local government officials as well as environmental advocates like Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson.
A version of the plan was included in the state Senate's budget proposal earlier this month.
“Access to clean and safe water is a fundamental right that we have enshrined in our own State Constitution, and yet, in communities across our state, this access is threatened by failing water infrastructure and one-time grants that rarely make their way to the small towns and cities that urgently need them," Hinchey said. "I’m proud to lead the charge with a solution through the Safe Water Infrastructure Action Program, which will deliver reliable, continuous support to help municipalities fix broken lines now and plan long-term water system maintenance. Our Senate one-house commits a historic $100 million for SWAP, and we will continue fighting to include it in the final budget to ensure clean water for all New Yorkers while saving municipalities time and money.”
Lawmakers and Hochul have over the last year called for measures to improve water infrastructure, including tackling lead paint exposure in low-income areas of New York.
New York is considered to have some of the oldest water infrastructure in the country, with some service pipes dating back 200 years. It's been estimated that more than $22 billion is needed to fund improvements to the state's drinking water systems.