Monday, October 22, 2018
Business

Florida suspends payment to SunPass contractor until tolling system is fixed

The Florida Department of Transportation announced today that it will suspend all payments to the SunPass contractor until the electronic tolling system is fixed.

In a letter sent to the president of Conduent State & Local Solutions, Inc., David Amoriell, FDOT secretary Mike Dew acknowledged that the vendor has made some improvements on processing transactions and customer service technology. But he said that Amoriell’s assurances in a letter last week that Conduent (a Xerox Corp. spin-off) would fix the system aren’t enough to satisfy the original performance-based contract signed in 2015.

RELATED COVERAGE: SunPass contractor promises to fix backlog but gives no timeline

"Because this is an absolutely critical service, the Department will not deem the assurances Conduent provided in your July 10 letter to be adequate," Dew wrote.

He called on Conduent to consistently process current transactions on time and post them to the correct user accounts, process the backlog of more than 100 million unprocessed charges, and give the state a financial record of each day’s activity.

"Late fees and penalties will not be imposed until the system is fully operational and is providing the benefits and ease of access that SunPass customers deserve and expect," FDOT spokesman Ed Seifert said in a news release.

Florida transportation officials say Conduent is expected to process at least 8 million backlogged charges each day, which is reportedly about two days’ worth of charges, according to WTSP-Ch. 10.

But the vendor isn’t meeting that goal. Last Wednesday, FDOT said in a press release that 28 million backlogged transactions had been processed. As of today, five days later, 46 million more transactions had been processed — which lags behind the daily agreement by 22 million.

The original 1600-page contract between Xerox (now Conduent) and FDOT included a "payment schedule" based on percentages — without specifying amounts or a timeline. In a December 2016 audit, the state’s Department of Financial Services found this to be a problem. The audit also criticized the state’s contract for failing to detail what services Xerox would have to provide before it was paid.

FDOT officials responded to the audit, saying that the agency uses a "monthly scorecard" to analyze the contractor’s performance. The Department of Financial Services determined that it still wasn’t enough.

Florida transportation officials signed the original seven-year contract worth $287 million with Xerox in November 2015 and later increased the deal to a total of $343 million. FDOT has paid the company almost $77 million, according to estimates on Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ website.

Conduent has a history of failing to process toll charges in at least seven other states, with a baggage of drivers receiving bills for thousands of dollars in late fees, ensuing lawsuits, audits, state fines against the company and amnesty programs. As the Tampa Bay Times reported on Sunday, Florida transportation officials knew about its troubled past when they signed the contract.

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Contact Hannah Denham at [email protected] Follow @hannah_denham1.

Comments
Pinellas reports a concerning rise in Hepatitis A. Officials urge vaccination.

Pinellas reports a concerning rise in Hepatitis A. Officials urge vaccination.

Health department officials across Tampa Bay are encouraging residents to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, which is on the rise. As of this week, 58 cases of the virus have been reported in Pinellas this year, including a jump of 10 cases from Sep...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Tampa ranks No. 7 for complaints of tech support scams

Tampa ranks No. 7 for complaints of tech support scams

Ever receive a phony "tech support" email or call? In the city of Tampa, you’re not alone. Tampa has the dubious honor of ranking No. 7 on Microsoft’s list of nine cities with the highest number of complaints about such scams. Tampa’s total: 1,970 su...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Ron DeSantis says Florida public schools are wasting money. Are they?

Ron DeSantis says Florida public schools are wasting money. Are they?

Florida’s school leaders have made plain for years their desire for more money to run their districts. They’ve asked lawmakers for higher per-student funding, and the freedom to spend the money where it’s needed. They’ve requested more construction m...
Published: 10/22/18
Pasco Business Digest for Oct. 26

Pasco Business Digest for Oct. 26

News and notes about Pasco businesses
Published: 10/22/18
Dear Penny: I have a $30k inheritance and no debt. Why do I feel stuck?

Dear Penny: I have a $30k inheritance and no debt. Why do I feel stuck?

Dear Penny, I recently received a $30,000 check from my grandparents as an early inheritance. Don’t panic: They’re both still alive. They gifted it to me for tax purposes. Ever since I received the check, I’ve just been staring at it. I don’t know wh...
Published: 10/22/18
Hernando Pet of the Week for Oct. 26

Hernando Pet of the Week for Oct. 26

PET OF THE WEEK Fudge is a chocolate colored, 2-year-old domestic short hair. He loves being the center of attention, and his cool color makes him a favorite of the staff. He does well with other cats and dogs. Inquiries about adopting Fudge or othe...
Published: 10/22/18
Hurricane Michael’s effect on timber industry ‘catastrophic,

Hurricane Michael’s effect on timber industry ‘catastrophic," Adam Putnam says.

Hurricane Michael’s enduring legacy could include long-term damage to Florida’s timber industry. While experts try to get a handle on the carnage, state Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam said Friday that preliminary estimates peg it ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Time is ticking to nominate your employer as a top workplace in Tampa Bay

Time is ticking to nominate your employer as a top workplace in Tampa Bay

It’s not too late.We’re extending the deadline until Nov. 16 to nominate your employer as one of Tampa Bay’s Top 100 Workplaces. This marks the tenth consecutive year that the Tampa Bay Times has highlighted the best of the best companies and organiz...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Unbound Miami: Entrepreneur Daniel Seal talks about his innovation festival

Unbound Miami: Entrepreneur Daniel Seal talks about his innovation festival

For years, Daniel Seal could see the disconnect between entrepreneurs, corporations and governments.A serial entrepreneur and former politician in London, England, Seal knew if he could bring the three entities together they would all benefit. Improv...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/22/18
After Hurricane Michael, a hunt for surviving oysters in Apalachicola

After Hurricane Michael, a hunt for surviving oysters in Apalachicola

APALACHICOLAT.J. Ward’s phone rang. Service had improved in the days since Hurricane Michael."Get another scrub brush and a squeegee," he told his sister. "The littlest one you can find."The Ward family’s 13 Mile Seafood Market smelled of bleach, so ...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/22/18