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Home Government OPINION: Otis Says Vote Yes on Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs...

OPINION: Otis Says Vote Yes on Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs Bond Act

In an opinion piece, Rye resident, former Rye Mayor and current Assemblyman of the 91st Assembly District Steve Otis encourages residents to vote Yes on Proposition One – The Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act or environmental bond act on Tuesday, November 8th.

However you vote, remember to “flip it over” as the bond act is on the other side of the ballot!

By Assemblyman Steve Otis, 91st Assembly District

Steve Otis Rye, NY State Assembly 91 Race 2020On the November 8 Election Day ballot, voters will have the opportunity to vote on a very important Environmental Bond Act proposal that will provide funding for projects of great importance to Westchester communities. The Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act is the first environmental bond act submitted to voters since 1996 when the last proposal was approved.

The $4.2 billion includes $1.1 billion towards flood risk reduction and coastal restoration projects of great importance to Sound Shore communities. An additional $650 million will be devoted to clean water projects and includes a new stormwater grant program that will help local governments address infrastructure issues that were highlighted by Hurricane Ida last year.

A major focus will be on climate change mitigation projects to reduce polluting emissions, encourage renewable energy production and clean energy through solar and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Electric school buses and electric vehicle charging infrastructure will receive support to match the growth in availability of these vehicles in upcoming years.

The bond act includes priority funding for neglected areas that have the greatest need to correct water and air quality pollution. Open space and conservation projects will also receive support.

Environmental bond issues allow state and local governments to implement important environmental projects on a multi-year basis that could not be accomplished through annual operating budgets. As with major capital projects, sound financial practice is to spread the cost over the useful life of projects through the bond issue process.

I am especially excited about the new stormwater grant program, which was a provision I initiated and was included with the support of the State Assembly. Local governments and property taxpayers cannot afford to pay to correct damaged or inadequately sized stormwater systems alone. State funding is needed to help repair these systems and support other flood resiliency projects.

Statewide organization support for the bond act is strong with hundreds of labor unions, environmental advocates, farmers, firefighters, construction workers, land trusts, local governments and other groups working for passage. It is estimated that the bond act will create 100,000 additional jobs.

To mark your vote on the bond issue voters will find the proposition on the flip side of the ballot sheet. Don’t forget to look at the reverse side to cast your vote.

The most recent NYS environmental bond issues were passed in 1966, 1972, 1986 and 1996. With the many water quality, flood mitigation, climate change, air pollution and environmental justice issues we face today, now is the time to approve a new environmental bond act.

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On Tuesday, October 25th, New York State Senator Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman Steve Otis discussed the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act with Save the Sound, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County and the Westchester Municipal Officials Association at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye – watch it:

Assemblyman Otis is Chair of the Assembly Committee on Science and Technology. He also serves on the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee and Climate Change Task Force. The Assemblyman represents the Sound Shore coastal communities on Long Island Sound including the City of Rye.

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