Preliminary Budget Hearings for the Committees on Housing and Buildings and Transportation and Infrastructure

The New York City Council recently held preliminary budget hearings for the Committees on Housing and Buildings, and Transportation and Infrastructure. For both of these hearings, NYLCV New York City Program Associate Carlos Castell Croke submitted testimony in support of expanding the city’s budgets to make existing plans to reduce emissions and improve transportation infrastructure more feasible.

New York City buildings are easily the heaviest contributor to carbon emissions in the city, accounting for up to 70% of carbon emissions and 80% of total water usage. Decreasing building emissions is therefore vital in reducing the city’s overall carbon footprint. One key step the city is taking to address building emissions concerns is the passage of Local Law 97, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050, fining those who fail to comply with emission reduction efforts. 

At the Committee on Housing and Buildings hearing, Castell Croke recommended increasing the Office of Building Energy and Emissions Performance’s budget and staff numbers to ensure a smooth market transition to lower emissions and enforce emission regulation laws, including Local Law 97.

Safe and open streets are also a crucial component of fighting climate change, with many New York City communities currently lacking access to reliable and affordable public transportation, and many low-income communities and communities of color living in highly congested and polluted neighborhoods. The NYC Streets Plan is one major plan put forth by the City to improve existing transportation infrastructure including bike and pedestrian, while also reducing the number of cars on the road and reforming on-street parking. This plan consists of installing multiple transportation infrastructure improvements, including 250 miles of protected bike lanes and 500 bus stop upgrades. 

At the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing, Castell Croke recommended allotting $170 million to the FY23 budget to account for the expected cost of $1.7 billion to implement the plan over the next 10 years. The Fair Fares Program intended to make public transportation more accessible in the city has also currently been allocated $75 million, though more money is needed in the next budget to expand the program even further to Citi-Bike and Metro-North.

Both of these hearings are critical in addressing two of the city’s key environmental priorities, and stress the importance of budget expansion to meet environmental goals. In a recent report, the City Council agreed that additional funding is necessary to expand green programs across the City to ensure sustainability goals and plans are met. In the 2023 Mayor’s preliminary budget, the Council found there to be major gaps in funding and is working to fill those gaps to ensure an equitable New York. 


By Michaela Stones

04.15.22 // AUTHOR: Brett Spielberg //