ETC wins big PANYNJ toll system replacement job - protests being considered

May 25, 2011

Electronic Transaction Consultants (ETC) have won a big contract to replace the toll systems of the Port Authority New York New Jersey (PANYNJ). The Dallas area toll systems group were authorized as an "Awardee" for the contract by the PANYNJ board of directors at their meeting today.

Cedrick Fulton, Director Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals, making the staff recommendation to the PANYNJ board meeting today said there were five proposals and that in the selection committee evaluation ETC's "scored highest technically and overall."

Price for the contract is $81.9m comprising the design/build component $62.9m and $19m for maintenance over six years with three options for an additional two years each. The price was above the PANYNJ engineer's estimate of around $70m.

The contract covers one toll plaza each at the Goethals, Bayonne and Outerbridge Crossings between New Jersey and Staten Island NY, one toll plaza each at the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels under the Hudson River between northern New Jersey and Manhattan NY and three toll plazas of the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River between Ft Lee NJ and Washington Heights in far northern Manhattan.

There are 72 toll lanes and all will get new toll equipment and systems.

The work involves new vehicle detection and classification, new transponder readers, new cameras, new lane controllers and plaza level computers and software. There is also considerable civil construction including new apron area concrete pavement and islands and lighting and signage

New toll collector terminals are required.

The system software has to support the present mix of electronic tolling and cash collection but also a transition to all-electronic or cashless tolling if that decision is made.

The contract does not cover back office operations or customer service. It is what is variously referred to as 'front end' or 'roadside systems.'

The present toll system was put in by Lockheed Martin IMS in 1997 so it is 14 years old and uses first generation Mark IV E-ZPass IAG spec readers and software. Fulton said few of the components are still supported by the manufacturers.

Lockheed sold their toll systems division some years ago to what is now ACS.

Fulton said the evaluation team was very pleased with the ETC system's ability to recognize and differentiate vehicles and to capture license plates and "in the end to achieve better accuracy."

At the end of presentation one board member asked questions about the ability of the new system to be interoperable with Florida and other toll systems outside E-ZPass.

The win was a major cause for celebration at ETC in Dallas today. The contract is one of the biggest such system replacement contracts in the past several years.

ACS/Xerox was the clear favorite to win the job since they are the giant incumbent in this part of the country. 

ACS already perform maintenance on the PANYNJ toll systems under extensions of contracts going back to the 1997 installation.

Telvent was also a strong contender.  They do all of the toll systems work for MTA Bridges and Tunnels right next door to PANYNJ.

Both companies have a depth of experience and generally good relations with customers.

TransCore would normally be a strong contender though there are reports they were eleimated early.

A Raytheon-TRMI partnership seemed to be a very strong contender to many - Raytheon for their expertise in all-electronic tolling and TRMI for the depth of their experience with mixed toll plazas. But for some reason they were not qualified.

The procurement came a bit early for Federal Signal's consolidation of acquired companies to qualify. The same with Kapsch and its acquisition of Mark IV.

Many in the toll business thought that ETC's problems with toll system contracts in Miami, Louisiana and Washington state might tell against them at PANYNJ. But Fulton's presentation did not allude to any of this and none of the board members asked anything relating to ETC's project delivery performance or customer satisfaction.

The vote to approve the selection of ETC was unanimous.

Seven qualified

PANYNJ qualified six companies in addition to ETC:

- ACS/Xerox

- CS Systems

- Picone/SICE

- Samsung SDS

- Telvent Farradyne

- TransCore

Four of these submitted proposals along with ETC. Samsung did not bid, and we guess neither did Picone/SICE. SICE based in Madrid Spain is big in toll systems in several continents but has little presence in the US.


PANYNJ is the scond largest grossing toll authority in the US after MTA Bridges and Tunnels in New York City. It takes just under a billion dollars a year in tolls. The George Washington Bridge at 280k vehicles/day has the most traffic of any bridge in the country. Tolls are one direction only and 240m transactions are done a year.

COMMENT: There are reports, unconfirmed so far, that ETC is presently in discussions with Kapsch and others over a purchase. The PANYNJ contract must add substantially to the company's value to a purchaser. But from what we hear this evening from some competitors there could well be protests and appeals. We don't have the $ numbers yet but hear ETC's was high compared to some other bids. The PANYNJ deal isn't done until a contract is signed.

video of board meeting presentation on the selection: see Committee on Construction

TOLLROADSnews 2011-05-25 ADDITIONS CHANGES 05-26  11:00

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