New toll could be coming to State Route 37, angering some North Bay commuters

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
New toll could be coming to SR 37, angering some North Bay commuters
New toll could be coming to State Route 37 that stretched 10 mile from Mare Island in Solano County to Sears Point in Sonoma County.

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- The California Transportation Commission held a public hearing Monday night about a proposal that would start charging tolls on State Route 37.

"State Route 37 is a mega-project. It's one of the busiest and biggest things we have going on in the Bay Area right now," said Bart Ney of Caltrans Bay Area.

If approved, the toll would go into effect for a 10 mile stretch of 37, from Mare Island in Solano County to Sears Point in Sonoma County.

Officials say the roadway has multiple challenges.

MORE: Bay Area transit officials exploring plan to charge all drivers to use certain highways

Things like heavy congestion and increased flooding thanks to climate change.

"Sea level rise is something we're looking for the long term project. Making sure that we have the ability to keep the route open," Ney said.

The current proposal sees implementing a toll as way to raise the funds need to address some of the issues.

But at Monday's meeting, many people came out in opposition.

"When I look at these tolls, it's essentially a tax coming in and out of Vallejo. And, to me, it's really a restriction on our freedom of movement," said one person during public comment.

MORE: Transportation officials consider plan for commuters to pay tolls on busy Bay Area freeways

Many commuters on this route live in Vallejo and travel westward to work in Sonoma or Marin counties.

At the meeting, they argued that the toll, which would be on the Solano side of the highway, would unfairly impact them.

"You tax the poor and working people with no financial impacts on either wealthy employers or the communities that have refused to build adequate affordable housing," said another commentator.

However, despite the opposition, transportation officials say in order to fund the project, tough choices may have to be made.

"In order to make some of the improvements that are really affecting the city and the county, we have to look at what we can do to get these things alleviated in the short term and the long term," Ney said.

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