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Voters approve the largest Environmental Bond Act in state history

The Adirondack Park in St. Lawrence County, New York is filled with green vibrant trees and flowing rivers.
Adirondack Council
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Adirondack Council
The Adirondack Park in St. Lawrence County is home to various wildlife and flowing rivers.

One of the winners in last week's election wasn't a candidate in New York State at all. The $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act received enough support from taxpayers to pass.

The Environmental Bond Act is the largest of its kind in state history and requires projects to be paid in full within 30 years. Environmental Advocates of New York Deputy Director Kate Kurera said this would harness the power of federal funds.

"This bond act will give New York the authorization to put up money to access federal money, which can really double and enhance the scope of the projects and how far this money can go," Kurera said.

Kurera adds that the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act will allow New York to fund environmental priorities. She points out that the Bond Act also has plenty of flexibility regarding the state's future environmental projects.

“There’s money in there for culverts and bridges that might deal with flood risk prevention, for farmland and open space and also the specific amount funding going to environmental justice communities," Kurera said.

Kurera said the message and the importance of delivering clean water resonated with voters. As a result, they followed their enthusiasm by adding the right to clean air, clean water and a healthful environment to the state constitution. The act is estimated to create more than 84,000 jobs.

“There will be significant number of jobs that are supported with the spending of these dollars and these investments in the state which are significant, as well," Kurera said.

Kurera said the recently passed bond act will also support the state’s goal to electrify school buses.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.