Albany Committees Wisely Advance Smart Growth Bill

The bus cam bill isn’t the only piece of progressive transportation and planning legislation having a good day in Albany. Sam Hoyt’s smart growth legislation passed through three important committees today and could pass the full legislature as soon as Thursday, according to Peter Fleischer of Empire State Future, the smart growth advocacy organization. 

In the State Assembly, the bill passed both Denny Farrell’s Ways and Means Committee and Speaker Sheldon Silver’s Rules Committee. The vote was unanimous in Ways and Means, according to an Assembly spokesperson. The bill is on the calendar for a vote by the full Assembly, where its passage is all but assured. "People seem to think it’s on the fast track," said Fleischer. 

The bill is only one step behind in the State Senate. It passed overwhelmingly in Carl Kruger’s Finance Committee and is now pending in Malcolm Smith’s Rules Committee. A representative of Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, a lead sponsor of the bill, said she expects the full Senate to vote on it Thursday.

The smart growth bill would require the state to prioritize its infrastructure spending in already developed areas, slowing sprawl and reinvesting in New York’s urban centers. With billions of dollars spent on building roads, sewers, schools, housing, and other infrastructure and services, even a small diversion of that money toward existing development will help protect the state’s open spaces and move us away from wasteful, car-dependent growth. We’ll keep you posted on what happens to the bill over the next few days, but right now, signs look promising. 

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