2016 Green Economy Bond – We Need Your Help!

Governor Raimondo’s budget proposes a $35 million Green Economy Bond Referendum with funding for: open space conservation; parks development; bike paths; clean water; and brownfield cleanup.

1st – Contact your State Senators & Representatives! Please make 5 calls AND send 5 emails today to:

Tell them how important open space protection, parks and pollution control are to you. Ask them to support the 2016 Green Economy Bond in its entirety:

“I hope you are going to support the $35 M Green Economy Bond. It provides funding for seven programs that have a strong track record. Together, these programs improve our communities AND strengthen Rhode Island’s economy.”

Add 1-2 sentences about the program funded by the bond that resonates most strongly for you:

Open Space Conservation:

  • $4M for local open space grants – to protect communities’ special places.
  • $4M for the state land acquisition program – to protect iconic places and fill gaps in State Parks.

Parks Development:

  • $2M for local recreation grants – to help towns develop parks in every community in the state.
  • $7M for historic state park development – investing in our world class State Parks.

Bike Paths:

  • $10M for bikepath development – to begin completing the state’s network of bikepaths.

Clean Water:

  • $3M for green infrastructure – to reduce stormwater pollution and clean the water at beaches and in bays.

Brownfield cleanup:

  • $5M for brownfield restoration – to redevelop and reuse industrial sites.

Additional Talking Points

Below are a few talking points about each bond-funded program:

Open Space Conservation

  • DEM, land trusts and municipalities (your local land trust or municipality) need this funding to protect the special places in our town: (what ever resonates most for you) – natural areas, – farmland, – your community’s remaining open spaces, – __ watershed The Local Open Space Grant Program has a 30 year track record. Without this bond, it will be without bond funding for the first time since the program was started in 1985. (Note: funding for open space conservation was removed from the 2014 bond referendum.)
  • State Bond funding is a good investment. State funds are critical “seed funding.” Each state $ 1 attracts 2-3 dollars in additional investment in open space protection from local governments, federal programs, foundations, and private contributions.
  • Protecting land is a true investment- this is one of the few uses of state Bonds that does not depreciate in value and actually increases in value over time.
  • If we don’t invest the money now for land protection, many of our most valued remaining open spaces will be developed and we will lose the character of our communities.

Stormwater

  • Stormwater is the most significant source of pollution to our drinking water, rivers, bays and beaches. When water from rain and melting snow runs off roofs, roads and parking lots into our rivers, it picks up toxic chemicals, dirt, trash and bacteria (disease-carrying organisms). Climate change with increasingly intense storms makes stormwater even more critical to control.
  • Green infrastructure reduces stormwater problems by restoring parts of the natural water cycle that were paved over by development. Green infrastructure practices also beautify neighborhoods, boost economies, and support jobs.

Park & Bikeway Development

  • Rhode Island’s world class state and municipal parks are a cornerstone for the state’s tourism and outdoor recreation industries. These support nearly 40,000 jobs and generate over $3.32 billion each year for the state. Funding for state and local parks is a prudent
    investment.
  • The Local Recreation Grant Program that began in 1985 has been very successful. Over the past 30 years, it’s awarded more than 400 grants to improve parks and recreation facilities in all 39 cities and towns.
  • Completing the Rhode Island’s network of bikeways will enable the state to realize the full economic, health and transportation benefits of this investment. Bike path investments in other states have resulted in 200 new jobs per million spent, and $9 in tourism spending coming into the state annually for every $1 spent on path infrastructure.
  • Companies increasingly want walkability and bikeability when deciding where to locate, as the millennial talent they seek desires that lifestyle.
  • Studies show that active living leads to 50% reductions in heart disease and diabetes, and 20% reductions in cancer. Every $1 invested in paths infrastructure brings a $3 reduction in healthcare costs.
  • Bike Paths provide Rhode Islanders with places to get outdoors and an alternative transportation option. They also connect people to and increase appreciation of the natural ecosystems of Narragansett Bay and our historic watersheds.

Brownfield Cleanup

  • Redeveloping brownfields makes efficient use of existing state and municipal investments in infrastructure – roads, sewer and water, etc. This avoids the high costs of developing and maintaining new infrastructure in a greenfield development.
  • Every brownfield acre redeveloped prevents the need to develop at least 4.5 acres if the same project was located in a greenfield development. This help to protect our remaining farmland and other rural areas.

2nd – Ask Your Municipal Leaders to Advocate for the Bond!

Ask your municipal leaders to adopt a resolution supporting the 2016 Green Economy Bond and to contact your community’s General Assembly Representatives and Senators about the importance of the 2016 Green Economy Bond funding to your community. Funding from this Bond benefits all jurisdictions across the state.

Find your elected legislators