(TNS) — New York City is one step closer to becoming the first city in the United States to implement a congestion pricing program.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels (TBTA) has selected TransCore to design, construct, operate and maintain the infrastructure and tolling equipment required for the Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP).

The congestion pricing program, set to roll out in 2021, is expected to reduce congestion on busy Manhattan streets while generating billions in revenue to dedicate toward mass transit improvements throughout the city.

“This marks a major milestone for the MTA’s first-of-its-kind Central Business District Tolling Program and will reduce congestion on crowded city streets while providing billions in essential funding to transform our transportation system for generations to come,” said Patrick J. Foye, MTA chairman and CEO.

TransCore, selected during a competitive procurement process that featured two other vendors, is beginning the project’s preliminary design phase. The company is expected to install toll collection equipment on existing poles and mast arms “as to have a minimal footprint and fit within existing streetscapes.”

Upon completion of the preliminary design phase, TransCore will begin building and installing the tolling equipment. The $507 million contract requires the company to design and build the system, in addition to operating and maintaining it for an additional six years.

“This nation-leading program brings us one step closer to making New York a more environmentally sustainable and economically vibrant city. Quite simply, it makes New York City a better place to live, work, and visit. I look forward to working closely with leadership at TransCore and New York City DOT as we move full speed ahead to make CBDTP fully operational in 2021," Foye said.

The selection is currently pending MTA Board approval on Wednesday.

About NYC Congestion Pricing

As part of the $175 billion state budget approved on April 1, TBTA will establish the “Central Business District Tolling Program,” which will charge travelers a variable fee for driving into Manhattan’s Central Business District, defined as any area south of 61st Street.

Congestion pricing refers to the use of electronic tolling to charge vehicles for entering certain areas during peak commuting hours, ideally resulting in reduced traffic congestion and increased revenue for transit-oriented projects.

A six-member Traffic Mobility Review Board will recommend toll pricing next year to the TBTA, which will ultimately determine the toll prices, which may vary based on a combination of factors and may potentially offer exemptions and credits to certain travelers.

The toll could potentially vary based on the time of day, the amount of traffic, the total distance traveled within the zone and the time spent driving within the zone.

The program is expected to generate $1 billion annually, which can be bonded against for $15 billion, which will be placed in a designated MTA “lockbox” to fund capital improvements to the ailing mass transit system.

Revenue generated from the new internet sales tax and progressive mansion tax will also be included in the lockbox, adding another $10 billion in bonded funds, totaling $25 billion between the three new revenue streams.

In late March, a source involved with New York City congestion pricing proposals said it was “fair to say” that the panel would start with a baseline of the existing tolls on the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown Tunnels, resulting in a two-way fee of $6.12 or one-way fee of $12.24 under the current tolling structure.

According to the source, the determining factor in selecting the price will be assuring that the annual generated revenue meets the $1 billion needed to secure the $15 billion in bonds for repairs and improvements to the public transportation system.

©2019 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.