PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is casting a wide net in its quest to build a state-of-the-art transit center in downtown Providence.

Gov. Dan McKee said Wednesday that the RIPTA will start accepting proposals for the $77 million transit center next Tuesday.

“The new transit center will modernize Rhode Island’s transportation system, improve the experience for riders, lessen our impact on the environment and create a more functional downtown,” McKee said. “Bringing our transit system into the 21st century will attract more riders, reduce cars and emissions on our roadways, and create more opportunities for mixed-use development.”

“A modern transit system is a key factor in attracting businesses with new jobs and economic development to our state,” the governor added.

The Dorrance Street transit center will serve as RIPTA’s central bus depot and will feature a temperature-controlled passenger arrival and seating area, administrative offices and “transit-oriented” development consisting of retail and residential space.

“In contrast to the current sprawling footprint of Kennedy Plaza, spread out across an urban park, the transit center will provide a single organized location,” the governor’s office said.

The state expects the transit center to serve 3 million people annually.

“We are excited to move ahead with a state-of-the-art transit center that will benefit our passengers, the environment and our economy,” RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian said.

RIPTA is requesting the expertise of private developers nationwide to help design, build, finance, operate of the new transit center. Proposals must be submitted online by April 17.

The transit center is being funded in part by a bond referendum to improve RIPTA’s existing services.