The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) began upgrading its Sunpass toll system on June 1st. Since then, Sunpass users have been racking up charges but not getting the bill.
The Maryland-based company Conduent State & Local Solutions was scheduled to finish work on the system by June 11th. Yet more than a month later, it still isn’t fully operational.
Charges are accumulating for Sunpass users, but the tolls aren’t being posted to their accounts. That’s led to a backlog of millions of dollars in payments to be processed.
“It’s like I don’t know how much I’m going to be paying. It’s a mystery," says Mike DiMauro, and Orlando resident who uses toll roads daily as a food delivery driver. His employer reimburses him for the tolls, but he hasn’t been able to show what he’s been charged by Sunpass since June 2nd.
"It’s hard because they’re going to bill me probably all at once, and I’m probably not going to have the money in my bank account to do that,” DiMauro says.
FDOT says it’s withholding all future payments to Conduent until the work is done. In the meantime, the state says it won’t collect late fees or penalties from Sunpass users. DiMauro started a petition on Change.org asking state leaders to take it a step further.
“I would like to see the tolls be waived for the Sunpass customers and hold Conduent responsible for the tolls during the outage because it’s their fault, not the Sunpass users,” he says.
Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday calling the situation unacceptable. She wants the contract with Conduent to be voided and asks that the state suspend tolls for users affected by the outage.
In the letter, Cruz - who is running for state Senate - goes on to accuse FDOT of trying to downplay the problem, and she wants to know how Conduent got the $287-million state contract to begin with. Conduent has a history of problems in other states much like what’s happening in Florida now.
We repeatedly reached out to state transportation leaders for comment, but none responded.
Read the letter below.