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State Lawmakers Call For Suspension Of SunPass Toll Collections Amid Backlog

Alexia Fodere
Miami Herald
State lawmakers will gather Wednesday to demand more action to address millions of unprocessed SunPass payments.

Florida Democratic lawmakers want the state to suspend all SunPass toll collections as the system responds to a backlog of more than 100 million unprocessed payments. 

State Rep. Kionne McGhee will join state Sen. Annette Taddeo and other local officials Wednesday in also calling on Gov. Rick Scott to create an independent auditing committee to investigate the backlog and other customer service complaints.

The unprocessed payments stem from struggles by SunPass' operator, Conduent State & Local Solutions, to update the toll collection system with new software and hardware. Since the launch of the $287 million upgrade in June, users have also had difficulty with the SunPass customer service website and app and have seen incorrect charges posted to their accounts. 

The Florida Department of Transportation said it would waive all late fees and penalties until the system is operating fully. Transporation officials also threatened to stop paying  Conduent State & Local Solutions until the system is fixed.

But there have since been reports that the state has continued to pay the private contractor. Users also told Sundial they are concerned they could face steep bills with late fees as SunPass begins processing old transactions. 

"I urge @scottforflorida to use his executive authority to suspend all SunPass tolls until this problem is fixed. Tollpayers are counting on you," McGhee wrote in a tweet Tuesday.

The Florida Democratic Party said state Reps. Barbara Watson, Joe Geller and Roy Hardemon among others will join McGhee Wednesday in calling for more action on the issue. 

Conduent State & Local Solutions is now processing the older payments. But the company has a history of similar cases of mismanagement.

Customers have faced bills worth tens of thousands of dollars in late fees in other states where Conduent launched similar system upgrades, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Some people said they were invoiced for wrong charges and even saw their bank accounts and car payments suspended because of the pending debt.