North Bay senator proposes toll add to Highway 37 to ease traffic, maintain sustainability

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- A North Bay lawmaker has a bold proposal, to make Highway 37 a toll road to help ease congestion and protect it from sea level rise.

"I always feel bad for people on Highway 37, it needs infrastructure changes," said Novato resident Lindsay Moon.

Seems like everybody's got a horror story when it comes to Hwy. 37.

A stretch of commuter weary highway that's not getting any better.

Easing congestion on Highway 37 could cost billions but North Bay State Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) has a solution on how to pay for it.

RELATED: Eastbound Highway 37 reopens after flooding forced full closure, westbound still closed

Dodd's bill proposes a toll road between Sears Point in Sonoma County and Mare Island in Vallejo.

"It ultimately provides us with a new roadway with sustainability and greater capacity," said Senator Dodd.

Money from the tolls could kickstart fixes on Hwy. 37, which has flooded several times in recent years prompting full closures and a nightmare detour.

"By the end of the century, this roadway will be underwater," Dodd added.

Dodd says a UC Davis study indicates most of Hwy. 37 will vanish due to "sea level rise in the coming decades."

RELATED: Bay Area prepares for sea level rise

"We've been impacted by fires in this area, but sea level rise presents the greatest threat and challenge," said Eamon O'Byrne from Sonoma Land Trust.

A re-design of Highway 37 could restore and maintain acres of wildlife habitat.

Many say it's time to invest in the future.

"It's our responsibility as humans to do something about it, evidence points to it being underwater very soon," said Lindsay Moon.

Details on how much the toll would be and how it would be collected will be discussed in future public meetings.

RELATED: Report: Solution for rising Bay Area sea levels lies in nature

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