Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act Takes Effect on September 29, 2010
On August 31, 2010, Governor David Paterson signed into law the Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act, which is intended to address sprawl by requiring certain state agencies to approve, undertake and fund infrastructure projects in a manner that is consistent with smart growth principles. The new legislation will affect a variety of projects throughout the state. The Act is codified as new Article 6 of the Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") and will become effective on September 29, 2010.
As explained in Act itself:
It is the purpose of this article to augment the state's environmental policy by declaring a fiscally prudent state policy of maximizing the social, economic and environmental benefits from public infrastructure development through minimizing unnecessary costs of sprawl development including environmental degradation, disinvestment in urban and suburban communities and loss of open space induced by sprawl facilitated by the funding or development of new or expanded transportation, sewer and waste water treatment, water, education, housing and other publicly supported infrastructure inconsistent with smart growth public infrastructure criteria.
ECL § 6-0105.
"State infrastructure agency" is defined to include a variety of state agencies and authorities, including the Departments of Environmental Conservation, Transportation, Education, Health, and State, the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, the New York State Housing Finance Agency, the Housing Trust Fund Corporation, the Dormitory Authority, the Thruway Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Empire State Development Corporation, the New York State Urban Development Corporation, and "all other New York authorities". ECL § 6-0103(2)
These agencies must ensure that any public infrastructure they "approve, undertake, support or finance" is, to the extent practicable, consistent with specified criteria.