Politico NY: Flanagan says water infrastructure deal ‘close’
By Marie French
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said Thursday a multi-billion dollar deal on water infrastructure will include priorities for communities across the state.
Flanagan declined to give a specific number for the package, although $2.5 billion is figure that’s been circulated and reported by the Buffalo News’ Tom Precious.
“The most fundamental point is that we’re all having discussions about water quality, things like sewage treatment, and things of that nature," Flanagan said. "I view that as an unbelievable positive because we’re looking to do a multi-billion dollar investment so that’s good for every community across the state of New York."
Flanagan said a deal was "close, but nothing final." The package does include source water protection, he said. That’s a major priority for environmental groups who emphasize protecting drinking water sources pro-actively saves money in the long run.
Flanagan also mentioned water contamination issues that have cropped up in Sen. Kathy Marchione’s district in Hoosick Falls and in Sen. Bill Larkin’s district in Newburgh.
Hoosick Falls’ water was contaminated with PFOA from historical manufacturing and Newburgh’s water was contaminated with PFOS believed to be from firefighting foam at Stewart Air National Guard Base. Flanagan also mentioned Sen. Patty Ritchie, who has raised concerns about salt contamination.
"It’s such a wide array of things… it’s all across the state,” Flanagan said.
Assemblyman John McDonald, a Democrat from Cohoes, said the water package has grown to include more issues than what Gov. Andrew Cuomo initially proposed in his $2 billion plan. He said discussions have included hooking up septic systems to sewers and land acquisition money for communities grappling with contamination.
Money is also being included for New York City, he said, leading to more engagement from the entire conference. Assembly Democrats included $200 million for New York City water projects in their one-house budget proposal.
"We’re not talking about cutting the governor’s proposal, we’re expanding on it," McDonald said.