About 350,000 tolls from State Route 520 and the Tacoma Narrows bridges were not billed, and drivers should expect to see older tolls in bills over the next few weeks, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
The crossings occurred between December 2011 and June 2012, and the drivers will not incur late fees or fines for the tolls that were not billed, a state spokeswoman told Patch on Thursday.
The missing bills account for about 2 percent of the 18 milion transactions that occurred during that time period, according to the state.
“If you drove one of the toll bridges this year and didn’t receive a bill, you’ll likely receive one soon,” said WSDOT Toll Division Director Craig Stone in a prepared statement. “We apologize for the delay and we are working with our vendor to ensure this won’t happen again.”
There are no tollbooths on the State Route 520 Bridge. All tolls are collected electronically through a prepaid Good-to-Go electronic transponder installed in vehicles that cross, via a license plate photo or through the mail after a motorist gets a bill. The system launched in December 2011.
It hasn't gone smoothly for everyone. Washington State Department of Transportation officials told the Seattle Times last week that a registered owner of a vehicle is responsible for the toll whether he or she gets notified or not.
And, earlier this year, the state issued a warning that .
Motorists have 15 days and an extra notice and fee to pay their bill before incurring a $40 fine, on top of their toll amount and fees.
According to the state, the error was discovered through the year-end accounting of the Good To Go! tolling system, which is run by toll vendor ETC.
“The causes of the delays for the transactions are varied and unique – they’re part of the start-up nature of this new toll system,” said Stone. “The silver lining is that our checks and balances are working, and thanks to that higher degree of accountability we’re moving in the right direction.”
Most of the missing bills were associated with out-of-state license plates, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. ETC already has resolved many of the transactions over the past two months, according to the state.
Affected drivers will receive the bills with notices of the delay attached, according to the state.
“Other toll agencies don’t have this much visibility into their toll transaction processing – their accounting system may not have identified this,” said Stone in a prepared statement. “We’re sending delayed bills, and that’s not good news - but the good news is, we found the issue. It’s important to everyone paying to use our bridges that the tolls are applied consistently and fairly.”