TAMPA BAY, Fla. -- Unpredictable charges, inaccessible accounts and crashed websites have plagued millions of SunPass users for the last 50 days. But as the state's electronic tolling crisis enters an eighth week, there may be even more chaos behind-the-scenes.
INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: 10Investigates' ongoing SunPass series
10Investigates has been breaking news for more than a month on the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) botched rollout of a new consolidated SunPass billing system, scheduled to have been completed by June 11, including how the state has tried to cover up the size of the crisis with optimistic press releases.
However, a detailed analysis of toll transactions by 10Investigates estimates the state remains backlogged by more than 130 million toll transactions. It includes every toll-by-plate transaction recorded by drivers without a SunPass since June 1, likely to be more than 40 million transactions that drivers will be billed for at a later time.
Other SunPass developments exposed by 10Investigates:
- June 26 - Florida chose a contractor with a long history of problems
- June 26 - Governor Scott has few specifics on his actions
- July 3 - FDOT's claim that system is restored is far from whole story
- July 5 - State continued to award contractor more money as problems mounted and SunPass contract lacks proper financial penalties in case of failure
- July 15 - FDOT completely unable to process toll-by-plate transactions
- July 17 - Contractor still collecting payments on other FDOT contracts
- July 18 - FDOT executives have coordinated to downplay crisis and keep information from media
- July 19 - Longtime consultant abruptly resigns after 10Investigates reports on her push for transparency and state lawmaker calls on Gov. Scott to waive 130+ million tolls
FDOT has communicated almost exclusively through press releases, claiming they will process up to 8 million backlogged toll transactions per day. However, the agency has not yet been able to process 8 million transactions in a single day, and with Florida drivers racking up 4 million new toll transactions each day, the state has only reduced its backlog from an estimated 140 million tolls to 132.5 million as of Thursday.
At this rate, it could take another 90 days - or more - for FDOT to get customers' accounts up-to-date.
If you are a Florida driver with concerns or problems related to SunPass disruptions, contact 10Investigates’ Noah Pransky at email@example.com. Or join the ongoing SunPass conversation on his Facebook page. And let him know who you think should be held accountable.
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