Bond Act Investments Must Prioritize Greenway Trails
In 2022, New York State celebrated a major win after voters approved the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act. This $4.2 billion investment is intended to strengthen and enhance our natural environment by supporting projects across the state designed to combat extreme weather events and help our state achieve its ambitious carbon emission reduction goals. Our job isn’t over, though. Now we need the agencies responsible for distributing these funds to prioritize the right investments.
We are asking you and your network to join Parks & Trails New York as we push for Bond Act funding to develop a comprehensive system of multi-use greenway trails that will reach every corner of the state.
New York State will soon host several listening sessions about how the Bond Act funding will be distributed. The first listening session will be held on May 30 at 1 p.m. at the University at Buffalo’s Center for Tomorrow, 125 Service Center Road, Amherst, NY 14228.
The following talking points can help you make the case for prioritizing greenway trails as part of the Bond Act:
- The Bond Act should be used to support greenway trail planning, design, and construction. Modern greenway trails are resilient to climate change, enable zero carbon active transportation options, and provide alternative routing during emergencies and after severe weather. Greenway Trails are a win-win-win for popular recreation, economic development and conservation.
Moreover, greenway trails:
- Ease coastal and local flooding events. Greenways connect wetlands and habitats and, in waterfront locations, create a vegetated buffer that protects from floods, storm surges, and coastal erosion. Green spaces minimize the effects of severe weather by absorbing up to 90% of rainfall
- Reduce New York’s carbon footprint. With 28% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from the transportation industry, expanding New York’s bike ridership—including commuting—through a comprehensive, connected and well-maintained system of multi-use trails will significantly help us meet our climate goals while creating local opportunities for outdoor recreation and economic development.
There are scores of greenway trail projects ready to be funded, including the repair and enhancement of existing trails; land acquisition purchases for linear parcels; and further extension of the Empire State Trail in places like Western New York.
A recent report found that greenway trails are “essential infrastructure for a resilient transportation system.” Given that the transportation sector currently accounts for 28% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions– the largest source– PTNY strongly believes that zero emission activities such as cycling and walking, and greenway infrastructure need to be a fundamental component of New York’s climate strategy as trails can be designed, planned, and maintained to be resilient to natural hazards.
We encourage you to invite your family, friends, neighbors and the next generation of New Yorkers to attend these listening sessions. Sharing your stories about how greenways will benefit the health of your community for decades to come will be essential in securing a more healthful/livable future.
To register for the Bond Act Listening Session on May 30, visit: https://www.nysebatour.com/
For more information on Bond Act listening sessions, including additional future sessions to be scheduled around the state, please visit https://www.ny.gov/programs/clean-water-clean-air-and-green-jobs-environmental-bond-act
For information about Parks & Trails New York’s vision of an interconnected network of greenway trails across the state, please visit https://www.ptny.org/our-work/advocate/trails-across-new-york