San Francisco Bay Area Ponders Gas Tax Hike

With concerns about global warming at an all time high, the region's policy makers think the time is right for a 10 cent gas fee.

"Regional officials are taking a close look at trying to increase the Bay Area's gasoline tax by as much as 10 cents a gallon and believe voters might agree to it as a way to help combat global warming, The Chronicle learned Thursday.

Although the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission has been able to ask voters for a higher gas tax since 1997, a decade of polls indicated there was little chance such an unpopular idea would ever secure the necessary two-thirds approval in the nine Bay Area counties.

Now, however, with public concern building over climate change, the electorate might not be so opposed to a new gas tax as long as voters see it as a way to help the environment, officials said.

A 10-cent-a-gallon increase in the Bay Area could generate an estimated $300 million a year or more to pay for transportation-related projects. Although the money could be used for roads, the emphasis probably would be on public transit and efforts to reduce auto pollution."

Full Story: Officials hope voters might favor gas tax boost to fight warming

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