Conduent, company that botched Florida SunPass rollout, gets Ohio Turnpike project

July 1, 2020

Wendy Parker


Let’s talk about insanity.

Suppose you rolled into the truck stop, got parked comfortably, poked at your machine that goes “beep” to be relieved of duty, and sat back to observe the goings-on.

Regular day, right?

All of a sudden someone named Florida sits themselves in the middle of the lot in full view of everybody looking and starts hacking at their right leg with a spoon. I mean, really going at it. Scooping out parts of the limb like a ripe cantaloupe and screaming the whole time about how much it hurts.

Gruesome, right? A terrible thing to see. Someone should have stopped them when they realized Florida was going to continue doing something so maniacal, but they didn’t. Florida just kept hacking away at their leg with a spoon while everyone watched, horrified.

After mangling main arteries to the limb, Florida crawls off into the bushes, out of sight, out of mind, to tend to the wounds and settle lawsuits.

Your regular day just became a trip into the Twilight Zone.

But wait, there’s more.

Half-an-hour later, just as you’re getting your bearings, someone named Ohio sits themselves in the exact same spot, with the same spoon and starts hacking at their right leg, just like Florida before them. Anyone with a lick of sense would wonder just what in the leg-hacking hell is going on in this weird truck stop, wouldn’t they?

To consider that Florida might be, as my great-grandmother would say, “teched” for displaying such self-destructive behavior would be fair. To feel quite certain Ohio was flat-out bat-poop crazy for mimicking the behavior after watching Florida hack up their leg would be a certainty.

And yet, here we are.

Well, we’re not in the leg-hacking truck stop, but we are getting ready to watch the state of Ohio make the same horrible mistake Florida made with their toll billing by hiring the exact same contractor who flubbed billing for Florida’s Sun-Pass – to the tune of somewhere around $120 million dollars.

You heard right. We may not be front row at the Spoony Leg Cabaret, but we are still in the Twilight Zone.

Today, Conduent announced in the “media snippet” they kindly sent out, “it has been selected by the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission to modernize and maintain the Ohio Turnpike’s toll collection system along the 241-mile interstate.”

If the name “Conduent” sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because my colleague, Tyson Fisher, has been writing in Land Line Media about their massively expensive mistakes made managing Florida’s SunPass since July 2018.

And while Tyson’s reporting on the platinum-plated snafu was by far some of the best, it was certainly not the only journalism dedicated to the multifaceted fiasco. Florida and Conduent were put on blast in the state and national news media.

Money was lost in the estimated tens of millions. Conduent’s contract was not renewed in Florida.

Never fear, here comes Ohio, bat-poop crazy, waving a checkbook at Conduent and the possibility of losing millions of dollars in tolls through the year 2034. Clearly they did not learn from the bleeding of Florida’s tolls by just watching it, they want to poke at their own leg with a spoon for a decade or so.

Meanwhile, infrastructure continues to crumble while court battles over toll roads rumble on, slowly sluicing away at promised payoffs like melting butter on a hot potato.

Don’t forget your spoon.

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