SendTo10: Email your SunPass bills and problems to Noah Pransky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aug. 24, 2018: 10Investigates reveals the state has still not disciplined any FDOT employees or threatened any fines against its general consultants in charge of managing the botched SunPass upgrade. Some Republican lawmakers privately confess they're sitting on the sidelines until after the November election, while Democrats complain they can't get answers from state staffers.
Aug. 22, 2018: 10Investigates details how some customers are waiting on hold to speak to a SunPass representative for FOUR HOURS. And FDOT admits tens of millions of toll transactions won't be mailed out to Toll-By-Plate customers until October.
Aug. 20, 2018: 10Investigates reveals FDOT and contractor Conduent compromised customers' personal data, but didn't tell the public of the problems. The state puts out a press release criticizing 10Investigates' report, but takes great liberties with the truth. Responding to the story, Sen. Bill Nelson expands his request for an FTC SunPass investigation.
Aug. 14, 2018: After two months of questions, Gov. Scott finally announces an inspector general investigation into the SunPass disaster. The state also finally cleared its massive backlog of nearly 200 million toll transactions and announced an $800,000 fine against Conduent's $343 million contract. The news comes four days after 10Investigates asked Gov. Scott for a fourth time about the lack of accountability.
Aug. 8, 2018: Conduent reports $1.4 billion in Q2 revenues, telling investors it doesn't anticipate its massive SunPass problems will impact its bottom line. Meanwhile, the state expedites the processing of its backlogged tolls, creating new customer service problems such as unexpectedly large - and sometimes mysterious - toll charges.
Aug. 2, 2018: In his third interview with 10Investigates on the SunPass topic, Gov. Rick Scott says refunds will be issued to customers whose bank accounts are overdrafted due to unpredictable toll charges. It takes two weeks for refund applications to go online. Scott still has no answer for why an investigation has not yet been launched and why no fines have yet been assessed.
July 30, 2018: U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Gary Peters call for a federal investigation into Conduent for mismanaging the toll system in several states. The two senators sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging the agency to take action against Conduent.
July 25, 2018: 10Investigates reveals Gov. Scott was fundraising with the founder of Conduent in the weeks leading up to SunPass' failed launch. His friend and lobbyist Brian Ballard, who represents Conduent, was raising hundreds of thousands for the governor's Senate campaign. FDOT also confirms for the first time 10Investigates' reports that more than 100 million toll transactions are backlogged (170 million, to be more accurate).
July 24, 2018: Gov. Scott suggests to 10Investigates he's satisfied with FDOT's handling of the crisis and he's not considering waiving tolls for drivers.
July 18, 2018: Internal FDOT emails, obtained by 10Investigates, detail coordinated efforts among agency executives to downplay SunPass' growing problems and keep pushing out optimistic talking points to Florida drivers anxious for answers. Hours after the story went live, FDOT announced the consultant who suggested more transparency would no longer be working for the agency.
State Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, also pens a letter to Gov. Scott asking for an investigation, termination of Conduent's contract, and the suspension of payments "for those who may have been affected by the outage."
July 17, 2018: Even though FDOT Secretary Mike Dew said its contractor would not receive any more money during the crisis, 10Investigates reveals FDOT didn't cease all payments to Conduent; it continued to pay the company hundreds of thousands of dollars from other contracts and subcontracts, even as it was flirting with default on its SunPass contract.
July 15, 2018: 10Investigates reveals the state is unable to correctly process any toll-by-plate transactions, which account for tens of millions of dollars a month. And industry insiders confirm the state has yet to make a significant reduction in its massive backlog of more than 100 million toll transactions, dating back to early June. FDOT boasts tens of millions of toll transactions have been processed, but still won't provide numbers on the backlog.
July 9, 2018: The state continues to slowly process tolls, but not fast enough to reduce its 100-million-plus transaction backlog. FDOT/FTE continue to fail to answer 10Investigates questions and records requests, releasing information almost exclusively through press releases, assuring customers the problems are under control and the contractor will be "held accountable." But the state can't answer 10Investigates questions about how they will hold the contractor accountable.
July 5, 2018: Documents obtained by 10Investigates reveal the state of Florida continued to award contractor Conduent more money while problems with the new system's expected launch mounted, growing a $287 million contract to more than $343 million. A state audit also cited FDOT for not putting proper financial penalties in-place in case Conduent failed to fulfill its contract duties.
The documents were obtained by 10Investigates through the state CFO's office when public records requests to FTE/FDOT went unanswered. 10Investigates also documented how Conduent's top lobbyist is a close friend of Governor Rick Scott.
July 3, 2018: FDOT and FTE start sending out press releases touting their successful processing of toll transactions. However, the four million toll transactions are not enough to keep up with new tolls accumulating each day, and sources tell 10Investigates the backlog has far surpassed 100 million. The state continues to ignore specific 10Investigates questions and fail to respond to public records requests from mid-June.
June 28, 2018: The state continues to ignore specific 10Investigates questions about the SunPass system failure and plans for restoration, but FTE and FDOT put contractor Conduent on notice the contractor is in danger of defaulting. Payments are halted on the lucrative contract.
June 26, 2018: 10Investigates exposes the troubled background of Conduent, the contractor in charge of the "six-day" maintenance project and how Florida likely had knowledge of the issues in at least four other states.
Even though the state continues to say it is withholding processing "to better serve the customer and avoid unintended consequences" - and it won't release numbers of its transaction backlog - 10Investigates reports FTE is not processing tolls because it is unable and 26 days of inactivity likely has the state 100 million transactions behind.
When asked about the problems, Governor Scott tells 10Investigates he will make sure FDOT does its job.
June 21, 2018: As the state continues to downplay the extent of its SunPass problems, 10Investigates reports more than 50 million toll transactions are sitting in a computer backlog. In response to continued questions about the customer service problems, FDOT announces it will waive all late fees and penalties incurred by drivers.
June 19, 2018: 10Investigates breaks the news that millions of toll transactions are going unprocessed and despite state claims of website restoration, customers continued to report problems accessing their accounts and receipts they need to document expenses. In response to 10Investigates questions, FTE sends an email to all customers assuring that it will soon process transactions, "which is anticipated to begin as early as the end of the week."
June 13, 2018: 10News starts covering the frustrations of SunPass customers who cannot access their accounts online. The Florida Turnpike Enterprise blamed the problems on a "high volume of people trying to log onto their accounts."
10Investigates would later learn the state chose not to run its old (legacy) system in parallel with its new system, so when the new system melted down, it couldn't easily remedy the problems by reverting back to the old. An FDOT spokesperson said the agency made the calculated decision not to "rollback" to the old system, and instead forge forward with the new one.
June 6, 2018: Maintenance of the SunPass starts at 7 p.m. It was scheduled to come back at 9 a.m. Monday, June 11.
June 1, 2018: SunPass suspends toll processing ahead of anticipated rebuild that will give system new capabilities, including parking transactions at major Florida airports and stadiums, as well as moving Florida closer toward national interoperability. Toll charges are recorded, but not processed to customer’s accounts.
Want to view an interactive timeline of the SunPass maintenance woes? Click or tap here
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