Proposed State Law Could Allow For Buried Transmission Line In East Hampton

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Two Long Island lawmakers have sponsored legislation that would allow New York State towns to create special taxing districts to pay for the burying of electric lines underground. If approved, the law would give East Hampton town and village the legal grounds to petition for undergrounding PSEG’s high voltage transmission line from East Hampton to Amagansett.

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle announced the legislation on Monday afternoon. The law would create specific areas within a town to “enter into agreements with public utility companies” to construct transmission, distribution, cable, and television lines underground, or “convert existing above ground utilities to underground.”

The process of creating the districts would resemble to creation of other “special districts,” according to a press release from Mr. Thiele’s office. Residents of the district would have to vote to approve its creation. Once the district was established, a town board would enter into a contract with the utility company to put a new or pre-existing project underground.

The legislation would also allow Long Island towns to petition LIPA to “contribute at least 50-percent of the net incremental cost of improvements for the district.” The net cost, according to the release, is the difference between an underground project and the overhead project. Any federal aid the project was eligible for would be deducted from the net cost.

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