The environment fared very well in the 2016 New York State final budget, signed by
Governor Cuomo. Here are some of the highlights:
*An historic $300 million Environmental Protection Fund allocation, up from $177 million last year.
*$36 million for municipal parks and waterfront revitalization, with more than half of this allocated for low-income and urban communities throughout the state
*$9 million for more electric vehicle charging stations (through NYSERDA) and an additional $1 million for zero emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure
*$2,000 consumer rebates for ZEVs and up to $5,000 grants for municipalities purchasing ZEVs for the municipal fleet.
*An expanded Farm to School food program.
*$2 million for climate resilient farms.
*$20 million for farmland protection, up 33 percent from last year.
*$175 million for clean water infrastructure each of the next two years.
*$1.5 million for a free drinking water testing pilot program to check for lead and possibly more.
*Increased funding for invasive species and integrated pest management.
*The budget also included $90 for state parks capital funding.
*On a less positive note, $30 million in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative money was diverted to non-climate related programs.
*The MTA capital program was not passed, although there appears to be about $2.9 billion in the budget for the MTA’s costs this year.