Friday, August 26, 2005

TxDOT picks defense consortium to provide transponders and "TxTag" software for Texas vehicles

State awards toll equipment contract

Details on the Raytheon consortium's proposal to be 'integrator' for future turnpikes are not released

By Ben Wear
Austin American-Statesman
Copyright 2005

The Texas Transportation Commission on Thursday picked a consortium led by Raytheon Co. to provide electronic toll equipment for all state-run toll roads for the next five years.

The company, whose partners in the effort include toll road builder Zachry Construction Corp. of San Antonio, also will maintain those toll systems for eight years after each goes into operation.

Raytheon will provide metal toll gantries, transponders to read toll tags on vehicles' windshields, cameras to shoot pictures of cars that don't pay tolls, other hardware and the software to make all of this work.

Raytheon will work with the state, other toll road agencies such as the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and the North Texas Tollway Authority, as well as their so-called tollway integrators, to enable any particular agency's toll tags to be read statewide.

The intention is for all electronic toll tags in the state ultimately to go by a single name, TxTag, and to work anywhere in Texas.

The amount of the Raytheon contract was not available Thursday, nor were many other details. The unanimous vote authorized Department of Transportation staff to negotiate and sign a "comprehensive development agreement" with the Raytheon group.

Department of Transportation spokeswoman Gaby Garcia said the agency will not release any of the proposal until that agreement is signed in a month or so.

Raytheon turned out to be the commission's only option. Two other companies were on a short list of candidates, but Florida Traffic Control Devices dropped out of the running, and Jacobs Engineering submitted what Garcia said the agency considered an incomplete proposal.

The company's "pricing proposal was below TxDOT estimates for the open road toll collection system," according to a minute order passed by the commission.; 445-3698

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