Majority Tells Mayors' Poll Going Green Makes Economic Sense
WASHINGTON, DC, January 23, 2008 (ENS) - The majority of 32,000 Americans surveyed in a new public opinion poll believe local efforts to be environmentally sensitive by "going green" will pay off for their communities by attracting new businesses and development, creating "green collar jobs," and boosting the local economy.

The Zogby poll was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in support of the Mayors' 10 Point Plan, "Strong Cities, Strong Families, for a Strong America," the Conference's legislative agenda of priorities for cities and urban areas.

The results of the survey were presented by Zogby International President and CEO John Zogby today during the 76th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the Capital Hilton Hotel, and included a discussion of top priorities for Americans as the 2008 election season gets underway.

The results show strong support for community initiatives that focus on the environment. More than half - 56 percent - believe their local government should "go green" and make environmentally friendly and energy efficient changes throughout their local community, even if they may have to "significantly change" their lifestyle, Zogby explained.

John Zogby (Photo courtesy U.S. Conference of Mayors)

Majorities also believe that if their local communities adopt more environmentally friendly policies, there will be a positive impact on the local economy. They think green technology will create new local jobs make their communities better places to live.

Nearly half - 48 percent - say they would be willing to pay higher taxes if the increase would fund environmentally friendly improvements in their community.

The interactive survey of 32,085 adults nationwide was conducted November 27 to December 12, 2007, and carries a margin of error of +/- 0.6 percentage points.

Many Americans are already taking conservation efforts into their own hands - 68 percent say that in their personal lives they have already adopted water conservation measures.

The survey also shows more than half of Americans - 53 percent - say they would be willing to use mass transit if it were easily accessible from their homes and where they work, and the pressure of rising gas prices may make it an even more attractive alternative.

Two in three - 65 percent - said the raising price of gasoline makes them more likely to consider using mass transit and 44 percent would be willing to pay higher taxes if they knew all the added taxes were being spent on improving or creating public transportation where they live.

Although most Americans express dissatisfaction with the overall rate of return they receive for their tax dollars, they view the use of their local taxes more favorably than the taxes they pay on the state and federal levels.

Bicyclists navigate New York's Times Square. (Photo by Ian Britton courtesy

Nearly four in 10 - 39 percent - believe they receive the best service in relation to the amount of taxes they pay at the local level, compared with 16 percent who believe they receive the most benefit from state taxes and 13 percent who believe their federal tax dollars give them the greatest return.

Tonight, Conference President Mayor Douglas Palmer of Trenton, New Jersey presented an award to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his leadership on global climate protection.

Mayor Bloomberg is being honored for his leadership on the international priority of climate protection. His plan for New York City sets a new standard for action by cities throughout the world - a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. With its 127 separate initiatives, PlaNYC strives to make New York City among the world's most sustainable cities.

Accepting the award, Mayor Bloomberg said, "This award is a real honor, but it could have gone to any number of other mayors who are some of the country's strongest environmental leaders - Chicago's Rich Daley; Seattle's Greg Nickels; Miami's Manny Diaz - those are just a few of the names that come to mind."

"In New York, we have no shame about stealing the best ideas from those cities - and from cities around the world - and working to push them to the next level. That's how we arrived at our plan to cut electricity costs in government buildings by 30 percent over 10 years and to turn our fleet of taxi cabs into hybrids, which will reduce their CO2 emissions by 50 percent. Those hybrids are allowing each cab driver to save about $5,000 a year in gas costs," Mayor Bloomberg said.

"Innovative environmental policies also make good economic sense and these days we could use a lot more good sense when it comes to how we approach our economy. If you'll allow me to veer off-topic, I'd like to say a few words about the economy, because the debate over the economic stimulus package is the big issue in Washington right now and mayors should be a part of it.

The New York mayor took this opportunity to beat the drum for his newest environmental cause - rebuilding America's decaying infrastructure.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Photo courtesy Office of the Mayor)

"Last week, I was in California with Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania. We launched a new, nonpartisan coalition of mayors and governors called Building America's Future. We're going to push for a new national commitment to infrastructure, and I hope all of you will join us," Bloomberg invited his colleagues.

"Other countries around the world are spending five to 10 percent of their GDP on infrastructure, while we've been down around 2.5 percent for decades. And it shows - not just in New Orleans and Minneapolis, but all across the country," he said.

He suggested that the federal government establish a capital budget to fund infrastructure upgrades. "Almost every mayor in this room has a capital budget, and so does just about every industrialized nation," he said. "But not Washington."

"They spent most of this decade running up bills with reckless abandon and when the economy started heading for the ditch, the special interest give-aways got even bigger. They ate the seed corn without worrying about the next year's harvest. Well, the next year is here, and the seed corn is gone. All we've got is a barn full of I.O.U.s," he declared.

"We can't borrow our way out of this," Bloomberg concluded. "The jig is up. It's time to start getting our house in order, which I believe starts with a simple idea - making decisions based on the business cycle instead of the election calendar."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.