“Queens residents deserve leadership that ensures they aren’t displaced by rising tides or rising rents,” said Constantinides, who is running for borough president. “Sadly, seven years after Sandy killed 11 of our neighbors, destroyed our coastal communities and eroded our shores, we are still unprepared for the next big storm.”
The Astoria native wants to implement a plan to close dirty power plants by 2025 or sooner. By investing in solar, wind and other renewable energy sources, he said, the city can close the power plants.
The second part of his five-point plan is creating 50,000 green jobs by 2030. Constantinides said he would use the office of borough president to promote career and technical education, which gives students on-the-job training in emerging fields, such as solar.
He would partner with local unions to “create a pathway to the middle class,” particularly for people who come from communities most affected by environmental injustice.
The plan also includes doubling Queens greenspaces by 2030. The councilman would invest capital funding into planting trees and bioswales along congested thoroughfares, and work with the Department of Transportation to create more pedestrian plazas.
Constantinides would also partner with communities to close dilapidated wastewater treatment plants, which would free up space for public use.
The fourth segment of the plan is solarizing city buildings such as libraries, hospitals and courthouses by 2030 to reduce costs and emissions. Borough Hall, for example, would be upgraded with solar panels to shrink its carbon footprint.
Finally, the last part of his plan is appointing a “resiliency czar” as the new Deputy Borough President for Sustainability. The appointee would be a “well-trained expert” whose role is dedicated to fighting the effects of climate change.
The deputy borough president would oversee all of these initiatives, and also have a mandate to overhaul land-use decisions to address the climate crisis.
Constantinides said his plan would put Queens on the course to a “stronger, safer future” to protect neighborhoods by making them more sustainable.
“Our movement will make Queens be the national leader on green policies that create good jobs that serve as a pathway to the middle class,” he said.