The California Transportation Commission will hold a public information hearing Monday in Vallejo on a proposal to introduce tolls on state Highway 37, according to Caltrans.

The meeting will include an introduction by Lee Ann Eager, chair of the commission, an overview of the tolling approval process, a summary of the project and time for public comment.

Creating a toll on the stretch of Highway 37 between Sears Point and Mare Island in Sonoma and Solano counties is being discussed by multiple agencies who banded together in partnership in February to come up with short- and long-term plans for the roadway, which has been plagued with flooding and congestion for years.

The partnership is between the California State Transportation Agency, the California Natural Resources Agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Caltrans District 4, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

Cars wallow through flood waters on Highway 37 in January 2017. The road provides a critical commute link along the North Bay, but sea level rise and growing traffic volume are contributing to a need for costly improvements. (Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Transportation Authority)

One thing everyone agrees on, from stakeholders to commuters who regularly find themselves at a dead standstill for up to two hours, is that the highway needs improvement.

Most at issue are the effects of climate change, which will raise sea levels and completely submerge the 21-mile stretch in 20 years if a solution is not found, according to state Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa.

Caltrans has also warned of sea level rise affecting the stretch of highway.

“Nearly the entire length between Novato and Vallejo is predicted to become permanently submerged as sea levels rise if modifications are not made,” the agency said last year.

Dodd said that one plan is to create a raised causeway, which he estimates would cost “billions of dollars.”

Last year, Dodd introduced the idea of creating a toll for the highway in order to help raise the money needed to overhaul the route, an announcement that caused groans across social media from Bay Area residents who have seen steadily rising toll costs for most major arteries.

The public meeting will take place April 24 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Joseph Room at the JFK Library, 505 Santa Clara St. in Vallejo. It will also be live-streamed on Zoom.

Katy St. Clair, Bay City News

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.