State Budget Environmental Highlights

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.