Toll Funds Sought to Speed Congestion Relief, Baylands Restoration Projects
SAN FRANCISCO, April 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The California Transportation Commission (CTC) will host a public hearing Monday evening, April 24, in Vallejo as part of its review of a proposal to institute tolls on a portion of State Route 37 between Mare Island in Solano County and Sears Point in Sonoma County. The hearing will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy Library at 505 Santa Clara Street, adjacent to Vallejo City Hall.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)’s Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority (BAIFA) affiliate in late March applied to the CTC for authorization to operate a toll facility on the critical and frequently congested 10-mile stretch of Highway 37 between Mare Island and the junction with State Route 121 at Sears Point. The tolling proposal calls for converting the shoulders of Highway 37 to new traffic lanes, which would be tolled electronically; and for converting the existing single lane in each direction to carpool lanes, which would be toll-free for qualifying vehicles. Toll collection would not begin until the new lanes open for traffic; and both a low-income toll discount program and bus service between Vallejo and Marin County are in place. The current project timeline anticipates construction starting in 2025, with completion slated for 2027.
MTC and partner transportation agencies see tolling as a practical solution that can not only help speed project completion — which will include replacing the existing bridge over Tolay Creek near Sears Point with a much longer bridge that will promote restoration of the San Pablo Baylands by allowing more water to flow into and out of the creek channel as well as enhancements to stop deterioration of what’s known as Strip Marsh East near Mare Island — but also can serve as a match to secure other regional, state and federal dollars needed for the complete transformation of the entire Highway 37 corridor between Interstate 80 in Vallejo and U.S. 101 in Novato.
Caltrans recently identified an elevated four-lane causeway along the existing Highway 37 alignment — with a bicycle and pedestrian path and accommodations for an eventual extension of the SMART commuter rail service — as the preferred long-term solution for improving mobility, adapting to rising waters and restoring historic baylands.
The April 24 hearing will be live-streamed. Members of the public may participate in or watch the hearing online at: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89975318179. The public also may join by phone at (669) 900-6833. The Webinar ID number is 899 7531 8179. Scheduled presenters include CTC Chair Lee Ann Eager and Interim Executive Director Tanisha Taylor; MTC and BAIFA Executive Director Andrew Fremier; Caltrans District 4 Director Dina El-Tawansy; and MTC State Route 37 corridor program manager Jeanette Weisman.
The CTC can provide assistive services including translation and interpretation in multiple languages, real-time captioning, transcription, large print, digital audio and/or video recordings, as well as meeting materials in an accessible format for the visually impaired. To obtain services or copies in one of these alternate formats or languages, members of the public are advised to contact the Commission at (916) 654-4245 or [email protected]. Other questions about this hearing may be directed to Paul Golaszewski, Deputy Director for Legislation and Finance, at [email protected] or (916) 654-7179. The CTC reminds participants that improper comments and disorderly conduct are not permitted. In the event that the meeting conducted by the Commission is willfully interrupted or disrupted by a person or by a group so as to render the orderly conduct of the meeting infeasible, the Chair may order the removal of those individuals who are willfully disrupting the meeting.
MTC is the regional transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. BAIFA oversees the financing, planning and operation of MTC Express Lanes and related transportation projects.
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SOURCE Metropolitan Transportation Commission