San Francisco Bay at sunset, viewed from Oakland, Calif. By the end of the century sea level could rise by five feet because of global warming, according to climate scientists, flooding much of the bay's coastal infrastructure.
National Park Service San Francisco Bay at sunset, viewed from Oakland, Calif. By the end of the century sea level could rise by five feet because of global warming, according to climate scientists, flooding much of the bay's coastal infrastructure.

While other coastal cities such as New Orleans have turned to federal grants to protect themselves from the effects of global warming, a measure on the ballot in the Bay Area would tap property owners to deal with problems from sea level rise.

Scientists and elected officials say that roads, freeways, and other crucial infrastructure around the bay — $62 billion worth, according to one study — are at risk of being flooded if nothing is done to stop the rising water. Measure AA — on the June 7 ballot in nine Bay Area counties — would raise money to protect the region from the expected rise in sea level, instituting an annual $12 parcel tax.

Many local residents and business owners are criticizing the plan as unfair, reports NPR's Lauren Sommer.

The challenge for supporters of Measure AA is to convince voters who live an hour drive from the bay — nowhere near the shoreline — that it matters to them. And some opponents, such as Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, see a big problem with the proposed tax.

"Whether it is a struggling farm worker family in a very modest bungalow in Gilroy, or the Apple campus there in Silicon Valley [the tax is the same]," Coupal says. "So obviously there are equity issues."

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