TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Transportation announced Monday that it would continue to withhold payments from the state vendor tasked with maintaining the SunPass Centralized Customer Service system until all the problems are fixed.
The move comes six days after a letter from Conduent President David Amoriell, the vendor contracted by the state, acknowledged failures during its more than $300 million system upgrade and sent what improvements had been made to date.
FDOT Secretary Mike Dew told Amoriell in a letter Monday that his company’s July 10 response wasn’t good enough and that FDOT is suspending all payments to Maryland-based Conduent State & Local Solutions until the contractor has demonstrated the consistent ability to timely and accurately process current transactions, eliminate the backlog and provide a full financial reconciliation for each day’s activities.
“The delays in providing a fully functional SunPass system is completely unacceptable to FDOT and to our customers,” Dew said. “I am committed to holding those responsible accountable.”
The SunPass system is still running more than a month behind on posting tolls. On Monday, the SunPass website showed tolls from June 11 were posting, which is 35 days behind. The Florida toll payment system, app and website went down the first week of June.
If the system is fixed, why are no recent polls posting yet?
That is a question state Rep. Bob Cortes posed to FDOT officials after he heard from numerous customers. Cortes is vice chair of the House Subcommittee on Transportation and Tourism.
At the current pace SunPass has been posting backlogged tolls, it will remain a month behind indefinitely.
A timeline of the SunPass outage
SunPass customers were informed May 29 the SunPass system would be down for maintenance beginning on the evening of June 5. The system was expected to be back online the morning of June 11, which did not happen.
On June 13, Sunpass sent customers an update and an apology, stating it was aware that customers were experiencing difficulties accessing the SunPass website, mobile app and telephone system. In the update, FDOT officials said that although increased demand was anticipated, it was higher than expected.
On June 22, FDOT acknowledged there was a major billing delay and unexpected challenges. At that time, there were millions of tolls that had not posted. But FDOT officials said individual account charges would be posted gradually over a number of weeks and that no late fees would be charged. The agency also said it would hold the vendor fully accountable for the delays and would enforce all penalty clauses in the contract.
On June 28, Dew sent Conduent's Amoriell a letter, giving the company a 10-day deadline to prove in writing the ability to perform in accordance with the terms of the agreement, and bringing up significant deficiencies that remained in the operations call center, website and mobile app.