Otis Announces Expanded $2.5 Billion for Clean Water Programs in NYS Budget

The State Budget, which passed this weekend, provides a $2.5 billion commitment for a variety of clean water programs including expansion of the municipal grant program initiated by Assemblyman Steve Otis (D-Rye) in 2015.

“Governor Cuomo’s $2.5 billion Clean Water Act places New York at the forefront of a multi-pronged approach to address the diverse drinking water and water quality challenges across our state,” said Otis. “I am very pleased that the municipal grant program we began in 2015 will be expanded and continued with over $1 billion allocated for municipal projects over the next five years.”

The $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 designates funding for a variety of water quality issues, in addition to the municipal infrastructure grants. Last fall, the Legislature held hearings to solicit testimony on water infrastructure challenges affecting public health and water quality.

Governor Cuomo’s proposal establishes funding streams to address initiatives that include the replacement of lead drinking water service lines, water quality improvement projects, land acquisition for source water protection, the mitigation and remediation of contaminated drinking water, municipal wastewater treatment and storm sewer system projects, as well as projects involving the NYC watershed.

Assemblyman Otis sought a new funding category that was included in this year’s Act – the $150 million Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grant Program – which compliments the original grant program by providing additional funds when multiple communities submit a joint project.

Assemblyman Otis added, “I am very excited about providing local governments this opportunity to work together to receive more funding. Now municipalities will have the ability to apply jointly for the option that is of greatest benefit to local taxpayers in their respective communities.”

“The wide range of these programs will give state agencies additional tools to address the multitude of water infrastructure challenges that may arise. Speaker Carl Heastie and Chairman Steve Engelbright of the Environmental Conservation Committee on which I sit, have been strongly supportive of this water quality agenda,” said Otis.

The new funding continues the state’s support for grants to municipal governments to help pay for costly local water quality projects, making those projects more affordable for local governments and property taxpayers.

The original Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015 created a new grant program to provide $425 million in grants over a three-year period. Now in its second year, the program has already delivered $250 million in state funds that have leveraged over $1 billion for local government clean water projects. The 2015 program was proposed by Assemblyman Otis and Assemblyman John McDonald (D-Cohoes), both former Mayors of their communities.