The push to make Highway 37 in the North Bay a toll road has cleared its first hurdle, passing a vote in the state Senate, according to Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa).

Highway 37 between Mare Island in Vallejo and Sears Point has been fraught with issues for years, from flooding to congestion. As sea levels rise, the frequently water-logged artery is further challenged and could be under water in 20 years, according to Dodd and Caltrans.

Senate Bill 1050 would authorize a toll for the highway that could start as soon as January 2026. No dollar amount has yet been proposed.

Dodd wants money from the toll plus federal dollars to address the issues facing the stretch, which spans Solano, Sonoma, and Marin Counties. The billions needed could create a raised roadway, widen the existing roadway, and/or create a moving median, similar to that which is on the Golden Gate Bridge.

The bill now moves to the State Assembly for a potential vote.

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.