Early indications from a poll show that many residents would be willing to live in smaller homes and pay taxes on gasoline if it would lower the emissions levels that cause global warming.
The random telephone poll of 1800 residents of the greater Bay Area elicited the following responses:
The Association of Bay Area Governments - faced with meeting state-mandated emissions cuts - was relieved to hear of such receptivity on behalf of residents, but the task they face is huge.
64 percent thought global warming was the most important factor to consider when developing transportation and land-use plans. Another 28 percent considered it at least somewhat important.
Asked whether they would choose to live in a small house with a small backyard instead of a larger house that required a longer commute, 74 percent said yes.
On the controversial issue of gas taxes, a 25-cent-per-gallon boost was OK with 45 percent of those responding, but was opposed by 30 percent. At 50 cents, 28 percent approved the tax increase, and 49 percent were opposed. Only 17 percent said yes to a dollar-a-gallon tax increase.
The Bay Area might need smaller houses, higher gas taxes and tolls on busy roads and congested business districts if it is to meet the state's goals for the reduction of greenhouse gases, transportation and land use officials said Friday.
"The challenge for us is, are we going to be able to walk the talk?" said Henry Gardner, executive director of the association. "We've been talking for a long time about focused growth, smart growth, but there has not been a lot of smart walk."
For the Bay Area to meet the state goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1999 levels, people will need to drive less and growth patterns will need to change to emphasize infill development over suburban sprawl, said Gardner and Steve Heminger, his counterpart at the commission. That is likely to mean smaller homes and more trips on mass transit, bike or foot.