Year-end accounting of the Good To Go! tolling system revealed that approximately 350,000 transactions from the State Route 520 and Tacoma Narrows bridges – mostly associated with out-of-state license plates – were not processed into Pay By Mail bills in a timely manner. The Washington State Department of Transportation estimates the tolls accounted for about 2 percent of the 18 million transactions that occurred between December 2011 and June 2012.
WSDOT toll vendor ETC has already processed most of these transactions over the past two months. However, drivers may still see older tolls in their bills as ETC works through the last of the transactions in the next few weeks.
“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. “We apologize for the delay and we are working with our vendor to ensure this won’t happen again.”
The transactions were found as WSDOT reviewed the books on its year-end financial statements. The only one of its kind in the nation, WSDOT’s toll accounting system tracks every transaction on tolled facilities the moment the transaction is generated.
“Other toll agencies don’t have this much visibility into their toll transaction processing – their accounting system may not have identified this,” said Stone. “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.”
Roughly two-thirds of the 350,000 transactions were for vehicles with out-of-state plates. The bills going out in the next few weeks will include a notice explaining the delayed transactions.
All toll bill recipients still have the option of opening a Good To Go! account – even after receiving toll bills – which lowers the cost of bridge crossings. A Good To Go! account remains the most efficient and cost-effective means of traveling on tolled roads in Washington state.
“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.”