Coalition pushes for billions of dollars of spending on New York's water infrastructure

Feb 23, 2017

Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

A coalition of government, labor and business groups is pushing for more investment in New York State's water infrastructure needs.

A number of local representatives got together at the Monroe County Office Building Thursday to support the proposal by Governor Cuomo to spend $2 billion in the new state budget toward that effort, and to push for additional spending.

Dick Metzger is executive engineer at the Monroe County Water Authority. He says the county's water system is in good shape right now, but it is aging, and the costs for maintaining it every year continue to rise.

"We’re in a constant process of renewal and replacement of our system. We’re investing $10 - $15 million a year  in aging infrastructure. It’s a real issue and it’s going to increase over time," Metzger told WXXI News.

Jim Howe, who is the executive director of the Nature Conservancy of Western and Central New York says this isn't something that can be considered option if the state wants to protect its most important resources.

“Water is really our lifeblood here; in New York, I think our most distinctive asset is our drinking water and our abundant supplies of  clean, fresh, water…let’s keep it that way," Howe said.

Some estimates have pegged the cost of improving the state's water system at about $80 billion over the next two decades to upgrade both drinking water and wastewater needs.