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Clean water efforts expected to gain from state infrastructure fund

A plan to fix outdated water and sewer lines may go to voters in November. Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure improvement fund as part of his budget plan. The money would also boost water quality programs around the state.

As state legislators continued budget hearings in Albany on Tuesday, the particulars of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Fund were discussed. While it appears that some of the dollars would fund repairs and upgrades to aging infrastructure, there would also be allocations set aside for non-profits.

"The fact that the commissioner recognized these non-profits that work from a very community-based approach to addressing large-scale, long term environmental concerns was really music to our ears," said State Senator Tim Kennedy after questioning Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos.

Non-profits such as the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Kennedy says, have been on the front lines with

Credit Chris Caya/WBFO
Delaware Park's Hoyt Lake

various government agencies in cleaning up polluted waterways. As much as $60 million may be needed to finish cleaning up Scajaquada Creek and Hoyt Lake in Buffalo's Delaware Park.

"Now, if this $2 billion initiative goes through in this upcoming budget and ultimately to the voters being passed in November, the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and other non-profits like it, will have the resources necessary to do their job effectively as they've done over the years," said Kennedy.