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Some 520 Toll Bills Delayed, State Says

About 350,000 toll transactions from the State Route 520 and Tacoma Narrows bridges between December 2011 and June 2012 were not sent to motorists, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

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.”

Jim DeYounger October 18, 2012 at 08:27 PM
If this was a private sector mistake the courts would be all over them, the tolls in question would be waived and the individuals in charge would be dismissed (that means fired). Since it is the public sector the individuals in charge will received a bonus. It's called the "I compensated for my own incompetency by making the users who pay my salary suffer through this" BONUS!!!
Catherine Wittel October 19, 2012 at 02:51 PM
I think the article states there would be no late fees or fines so the people won't pay any more for the toll crossing than they would have if they had received the bill earlier. I hope nobody receives a bonus for this! LOL!
Sheri Gazitt October 19, 2012 at 06:03 PM
They say the bills go back as far as December 2011. It's been more than 6 months so can they really still collect those tolls?
Susan Milke October 19, 2012 at 07:05 PM
This is becoming a joke. It is beginning to seem they are scamming us. Really, where is this money going? Do the tolls pay for one thing and the fines pay for another? And the second half of the bridge won't be paid for according to them through collecting these tolls. Go back to the old-fashion way of dropping money in a toll booth. Then people have already PAID and won't get a fine. Or maybe the fines are what they are going for!
Ryan Graves December 21, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I have started a petition to enact change in the Billing & Customer Service policies for the WA State Department of Transportation "Good To Go" 520 Bridge Tolling program. If you would like to read and sign the petition, I'd be grateful. Please check out the link and sign if you would like to support: https://www.change.org/petitions/good-to-go-washington-state-department-of-transportation-change-billing-customer-service-policies-automatic-updating-of-addresses

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