HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Florida lawmaker calls for suspension of SunPass payments and 'full investigation'

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 11:53 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA FORMULANONE/FLICKR
  • Photo via Formulanone/Flickr
The Florida Department of Transportation has been under fire for the SunPass fiasco over the past few weeks, and things just keep getting worse.

Since the electronic toll collector has gone offline for a system-wide update, issues continue to plague normal operations, including millions of unprocessed transactions and duplicate charges, leading to increasing frustration from the public.



In a letter addressed to Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday, Rep. Janet Cruz called for an investigation to determine the terms under which Maryland-based contractor Conduent was permitted to oversee a $287 million upgrade to the SunPass system.

The House Democratic Leader called out FDOT for "lack of transparency" and for downplaying the mounting issues with the system, problems that Cruz described as "alarming and worrisome." Cruz wrote that she was "concerned" about recent reports of Conduent's history of mishandling customer service in seven other states, including an instance in Texas where the contractor took two years to process backlogs of transactions and one Texas customer was ultimately charged $41,000.

The letter reads:
"For the millions of Floridians who rely on toll roads to travel to work and for the tourists who power our economy, this has created a potentially perilous situation in which thousands of dollars could be charged on one bill once the system does come back on line. [...] I am calling for a full investigation into how Conduent was awarded this contract, for this contract to be immediately voided, to publicly acknowledge what steps FDOT are taking to correct the situation and hold Conduent accountable, and for the state to suspend payments for those who may have been affected by the outage."

FDOT announced Monday that they were halting payments to Conduent State & Local Solutions until SunPass system operations were back to normal. Authorities have said they plan to hold the contractor "fully accountable." SunPass originally started an overhaul of their collection system in early June, a process that was supposed to end June 11 but has continued well into July, as millions of transactions remain unprocessed and the online system endures malfunctions.

In the meantime, FDOT still has to answer lawmakers' questions about why the "I-4 Ultimate" project is $100 million over budget and more than eight months behind schedule.

Cruz is running for Senate, so it's safe to say she's poking holes in Scott's chances to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

Tags: , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 25, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation