The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) revealed last week that drivers using their new open-road tolling plazas on a toll-by-plate basis have not been billed for the last six months due to a flaw in the system. MDX will begin sending out bills this month, looking to collect up to $7.5 million in unpaid tolls. Toll-by-plate collection has been suspended until further notice.
Drivers using the toll-by-plate method (rather than SunPass transponders) will be informed they have 30 days to pay off the first three months of toll fees and 60 days to pay off the remaining three months. According to MDX, approximately 60,000 drivers are using the toll-by-plate method, but the agency has no idea how many of those users will be billed.
The problem, according to MDX, was caused by the transition to a new tolling system that began on Oct. 1. The old system, installed by Texas-based Electronic Transaction Consultants Corp. (ETCC) in 2009, had a number of its own problems, headlined by a high volume of false billings to drivers.
Delivery of the project has been an issue for ETCC as well: Costs have risen from $31.4 million in 2010 to $46.7 million today, while the original project completion had gone from June 2011 to June 2014.
MDX terminated its contract with ETCC in December 2012, a month after ETCC filed a lawsuit claiming MDX had not fully paid for work already completed. MDX’s counter claim demanded damages from ETCC for “failure to develop, install and operate a fully-functional all-electronic” off-road tolling system.
The first part of ETCC’s lawsuit has already been decided in favor of MDX. All remaining litigation is scheduled for trial this September.