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Hannon calls for $5B statewide referendum for NY water infrastructure

Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) on July 16,

Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) on July 16, 2010.


A Long Island senator called for a $5 billion bond act to address water infrastructure Friday, saying New York needed a long-range solution to a long-standing problem.

Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) introduced a bill that would ask voters to approve $5 billion in borrowing dedicated to “repairing, replacing and updating municipal wastewater, storm water and drinking water infrastructure.” The money also could be used to address contaminated water bodies. Under Hannon’s proposal, the Senate, Assembly and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo would have to approve the measure, which would then be put to voters in a statewide referendum in November.

Cuomo, earlier this year, called for borrowing $2 billion for water infrastructure. His plan, in contrast, requires lawmakers’ approval but not voters’, aides have said.

Hannon said, in a memo supporting his bill, that public hearings across the state last year made it “clear that water quality has become an emerging concern for all New Yorkers and something must be done to address this issue.”

The Republican introduced a companion bill to establish a “drinking-water quality institute” that would review protocols and standards for drinking water and establish a “notification process” for municipalities regarding potential contamination threats.

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