The New York League of Conservation Voters and its supporters have reason to celebrate with recent environmental policy wins signaling progress for the state. This past week saw the passage of a state budget that takes action on climate change and, as the weekend approached, New York City moved one step closer to implementing congestion pricing.
These wins were made possible through the collective efforts of NYLCV’s advocacy campaigns and members and supporters like you, and also because of elected officials who prioritize the environment. So as the organization celebrates this progress, it is also excited to kick off the 2023 election cycle with its first round of endorsements.
The League commends Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature for passing a FY24 State Budget that includes a commitment to zero-emission buildings, renewable energy and, critically, a Cap and Invest measure to pay for the state’s transition to a clean energy economy.
NYLCV was pleased with the $500 million for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act and $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). That the EPF will not be raided to pay for agency staff helps solidify a precedent that is critical for the long-term viability of the fund.
In a hugely important measure, there was a boost in funding for MTA operating aid, which will go a long way toward addressing their fiscal cliff and enable more frequent service. Read our full statement in reaction to the state budget.
NYLCV has been a vocal advocate for congestion pricing, which aims to reduce traffic congestion in Manhattan by charging drivers a fee for entering the central business district. The program will help reduce air pollution, improve public health, and raise much-needed funds for improvements to public transportation.
Thanks to Friday’s release of a Letter of Legal Sufficiency by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), New York City is one step closer to implementing this climate friendly policy.
“New York City needs congestion pricing because we cannot drive our way out of the climate crisis. After years of being stuck in Washington, the FHWA’s release of the Letter of Legal Sufficiency clears a major hurdle on the road to cleaner air, less traffic, and much-needed funding for upgrades to the MTA, like extending the second avenue subway to Harlem,” said NYLCV President Julie Tighe. “New York City is the economic engine of the region, and the MTA is its lifeblood. We look forward to the release of the Finding of No Significant Impact, which, along with the continued support from Governor Hochul, will ensure the city and entire region can benefit from this program without further delay.”
As we reflect on these victories, it is also important to recognize that electing leaders who prioritize the environment is essential to continue advancing policies that protect our planet. With its first round of endorsements for the 2023 election cycle, the League has thrown their support behind a total of 48 candidates statewide, endorsing 39 candidates for New York City Council and seven candidates for mayoral races in Cohoes, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Watervliet, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, and Yonkers.
The primaries will occur on June 27, 2023, with early voting for the primaries running from June 17-25, and primary Election Day on June 27.
We will have additional endorsement announcements later this election season and we will continue to advocate for smart and bold environmental policies in the post-budget legislative session and the implementation of congestion pricing as soon as possible.