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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

LI coalition lobbies for mass transit, water, housing projects

A Long Island coalition lobbied state lawmakers Wednesday, urging them to increase bus funding, address the spread of zombie homes, promote offshore wind power and fix long-standing sewage issues.

While large-scale projects might get the headlines, “these are projects that matter to real people,” said Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, a nonprofit group that is one of the members of the Long Island Lobby Coalition, which met with the Island’s state legislators and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday.

The coalition is seeking to get more than 20 issues addressed in the 2016-17 state budget, which is supposed to be adopted by April 1, the start of New York’s fiscal year. Among the group’s key issues is $800 million for water infrastructure.

That includes money for an ocean outfall pipe for the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, sewers in Mastic Beach, Kings Park and Huntington, and flood protection/mitigation in Freeport and West Babylon.

For businesses, the group is pushing a tax-deferred business “savings account,” similar to an individual retirement account and a “shop local” ad campaign.

It also wants lawmakers to ensure that at least one-fourth of the fines that banks have paid in regards to “predatory lending practices” be sent to communities to deal with vacant, blighted properties often called “zombie homes.”

“These might seem like small projects, but they would have a real impact,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

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