Millions still on the table in Florida SunPass toll fiasco
Now that the SunPass debacle has dissipated and the Florida Turnpike is returning to normal operations, how much money has Florida left on the table? According to the Florida Turnpike Enterprise executive director, the state could possibly lose tens of millions of dollars in unpaid tolls.
On Sept. 19, Florida Turnpike Enterprise Executive Director Nicola Liquori gave the Florida House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee a SunPass update. Last June, millions of transactions went unprocessed after the contractor Conduent botched the launch of the new Centralized Customer Service System.
After reassuring the subcommittee that everything is back to normal, state lawmakers wanted to know exactly how much money is still out there.
According to Liquori, there are approximately $120 million in unpaid invoices that are at least 90 days late.
Rep. Ardian Zika, R-Land O’ Lakes, asked how much of that amount the state can expect to recover. Liquori said that once the toll invoices enter collections, the recovery rate is typically in the 50% to 60% range. When asked if that means the state could lose $50 million in tolls or more, Liquori hesitantly answered, “It’s possible.”
However, the unpaid SunPass toll invoices will not go down as a loss on the balance sheets, Liquori said. Rather, all collected delinquent tolls will be marked as revenue as the payments arrive.
Rep. Mel Ponder, R-Destin, noted that the average toll invoice is between $15 and $25. With $120 million in unpaid tolls, that totals to approximately 5 million to 8 million delinquent accounts. The vast majority of those invoices are likely in-state motorists. Liquori said that out-of-town invoices are historically in the 4% to 5% range.
As of June 1, SunPass toll collections have been business as usual. Not all of that $120 million in unpaid tolls is the result of the system error.
“They are not all attributed to our billing debacle,” Liquori said. “Some of it is attributed to the normal toll collection process. We anticipate 95% collection on a normal year.” LL