Matt Brown, PETALUMA ARGUS-COURIER
Officials estimate sea level rise will submerge Highway 37 within 30 years if no action is taken.
Faced with a multibillion-dollar price tag to ease congestion on Highway 37 and protect the critical North Bay artery from rising sea levels, State Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) Friday proposed a novel funding solution — turn the route into a toll road.
Flanked by North Bay transportation, business and environmental leaders on a bluff at Sonoma Raceway overlooking Highway 37, Dodd introduced legislation he authored that would allow the state to immediately collect tolls from motorists between Sears Point and Mare Island.
Dodd said the bill, if passed and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, would kickstart fixes for the vital corridor that sees 40,000 vehicles per day.
“The time is now to improve this essential artery that connects us to jobs and supports our economy,” Dodd said. “If we don’t act, increased traffic and sea level rise will make an already bad situation simply unpassable. Without a dedicated revenue source, the problem won’t be fixed in many of our lifetimes.”