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Sweeney launches push for 2014 environmental bond act

Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) announced he will co-host

Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) announced he will co-host a hearing Friday at the State Capitol on the need to borrow up to $5 billion to pay for long-term projects such as improving wastewater and drinking water systems. (June 28, 2012) (Credit: James Escher)

A Long Island legislator is floating the idea of a new, statewide environmental bond act.

Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) announced he will co-host a hearing Friday at the State Capitol on the need to borrow up to $5 billion to pay for long-term projects such as improving wastewater and drinking water systems.

That comes on the heels of Sweeney and Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo) recently introducing a bill that would put an environmental bond referendum on the 2014 statewide ballot.

Sweeney noted that the last environmental bond act was approved in 1996 and that a 2008 infrastructure assessment found a need for $70 million in wastewater and drinking water repairs and updates over the next two decades.

The proposal by Sweeney and Gristanti calls for funds to be divided up in three ways: $2 billion for clean water repairs and upgrades, $2 billion for sewage infrastructure repair and $1 billion for programs to improve air quality or prevent urban pollution.

Sweeney backed a similar bond act in 2009, but dropped it as the state’s economic woes worsened.

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