“Infrastructure bill bringing hundreds of millions to WNY – with more to come,” Feb. 26 brings fresh and exciting news to the usual stories about transportation investment. For years, we’ve seen highway expansion as a good idea, and celebrated funding for it. What a surprise to discover that more lanes have meant more traffic and its resultant climate pollution.
Now, the Biden administration will bring us transportation improvements that will encourage pedestrians, busways and cyclists, and thus bring safer conditions to urban neighborhoods.
Highways nationwide have been the scourge of Black communities, slashing through them physically, spewing toxic pollutants, and allowing home mortgage lenders, and other investors, to fail to serve these neighborhoods. Mass transit improvements also clean the air and contribute to environmental justice.
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Buffalo Niagara International Airport will also be receiving crucial funds to update their HVAC system. The facility has been looking into more sustainable operations for over 10 years. These funds provide a great opportunity to look into establishing a solar microgrid like JFK in New York City, or geothermal power like Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Either would protect it from grid outages and help Gov. Kathy Hochul’s efforts to meet New York’s climate mandate.
Thank you to Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, and Congressman Brian Higgins for bringing Western New York these advantages.
Sierra Club Niagara Chair