Environmental Bond 2024

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Ryan Alter
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2023 3:15 pm

Environmental Bond 2024

Post by Ryan Alter »

Climate change is an emergency we face as a city, a state, a nation. To argue otherwise is to ignore what is right outside our front door – hotter and hotter summers, a decreasing water supply, and more extreme storms that inflict severe damage on our homes, trees, utilities, and daily life. We cannot ignore these facts any longer and must take meaningful action now.

To argue we must delay for even more talking about the problem or studies of potential solutions does not meet the urgency of the moment, especially on the heels of the Supreme Court gutting the federal government’s ability to protect our environment. This is either a crisis that requires action, or it isn’t. That is why I launched the Environmental Investment Plan to identify where we are falling short of our environmental goals and what it would take to meet those goals. And that’s exactly what staff and the Joint Sustainability Committee have done over the past 5+ months.

Let’s not pretend that the goals they have analyzed are somehow new or without rigor. The goals we are attempting to meet are founded in years of science, and thousands of hours of community discussions and work by experts in these fields. The Climate Equity Plan, Water Forward, Strategic Mobility Plan, and Generation Plan (just to name a few) on which staff’s recommendations are based are already Council adopted guiding documents for addressing environmental issues. Now we must live up to those plans instead of doing what this City usually does – give them a pretty cover and put them on the shelf, always with the intention to get to them one day.

That day should have been years ago, but since it wasn’t, I plan to do everything I can to make it today. That is why I and my fellow co-sponsors plan to offer a resolution at our July 18 meeting that identifies key priorities identified by staff and the public that will have a meaningful impact on our resilience as a city now, not down the road. This will require a host of investments, including land acquisition that preserves our water supply and protects from overdevelopment, offsetting the city’s massive energy usage by deploying equivalent solar and battery supplies, greater water conservation measures to safeguard our shrinking water supply, planting more trees throughout the city to decrease the heat island effect that disproportionately affects low-income communities, and reducing local flooding. Some of these efforts will require a 2024 bond election to fund them, while others we will accomplish through other financing methods and/or over time.

We know these measures are just a start, and I welcome any efforts to build on them during future bond elections. If approved, they will be ready to be deployed well before any 2026 bond project and are the types of projects that can run concurrently with prior bond programs. We know what we need to do to protect the air we breathe, water we drink, and land that is becoming ever more precious – all we have to decide now is if we are willing to do it.

- Ryan
Council Member, District 5
Vanessa Fuentes
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:02 am

Re: Environmental Bond 2024

Post by Vanessa Fuentes »


Time and time again, I hear from my constituents, community, and advocates about the urgent need to protect our city from the growing impacts of climate change. Oftentimes, it’s communities like the one I represent that face the brunt of climate-related disasters, such as the deadly and devastating floods we saw in 2013 and 2015. Further delaying comprehensive climate action will only lead to more displaced families, uprooted lives, and destroyed communities. I want to thank Council Member Ryan Alter for initiating the Environmental Investment Plan, as well as the Joint Sustainability Committee Members and the several staff members from various departments that contributed to the report.

With over a month to review the report, I am encouraged to see the many recommendations to address the ongoing climate crisis that are ripe for investment. Much of this valuable work has been available to us for years, and highlights outstanding needs that can no longer wait - including the Citywide Green Infrastructure Plan, the Climate Health Assessment, and flood and stormwater resilience improvements that are a priority for much of east and south Austin.

Council still has work to do to finalize a 2024 bond package and invest in a more resilient Austin, and I am fully supportive of acting with urgency to address what we already know must be done. I look forward to our deliberations to set priorities and take action in the coming weeks and months.

Yours in community,
Council Member, District 2
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