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Originally published June 21, 2011 at 9:11 PM | Page modified June 21, 2011 at 9:11 PM

State says tolling glitches ironed out

A top state transportation official said Tuesday that its tolling vendor on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge had corrected system bugs that caused thousands of Good to Go! account holders to be wrongly slapped with fine notices.

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quotes Thousands of people outraged and inconvenienced by this error. How many people showed... Read more

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A top state transportation official said Tuesday that its tolling vendor on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge had corrected system bugs that caused thousands of Good to Go! account holders to be wrongly slapped with fine notices.

Bridge users who were issued about 26,000 violations starting in mid-May will not have to pay a $52 fine, said Assistant Transportation Secretary David Dye.

The state and its Texas contractor, Electronic Transaction Consultants, also identified a plan to work through tens of thousands of potential violations that have backlogged since the conversion to the new tolling system in February.

Asked if the problems are resolved, Dye responded: "I'd love to be able to say that. I'm cautiously optimistic we're there. The proof is in the successful operation going forward."

The delayed issuance of thousands of violations caused an uproar from Peninsula residents and other bridge users, who said they were fined despite maintaining their electronic toll accounts in good standing.

The Transportation Department initially placed the onus on drivers, but Dye acknowledged his department and the contractor are at fault.

"We can't sugarcoat it," he said. "This vendor has been struggling in implementing the system that we were hoping to have. ... That said, we probably haven't been perfect either in working to move this forward."

The glitches also caused tolls to be missed on the Highway 167 high-occupancy toll lanes and led to a delay in the start of electronic tolling on the Highway 520 floating bridge.

Of the 26,000 violations mailed out for the Narrows Bridge, about 15,000 have been converted to normal tolls.

The fines were dismissed after account holders contacted the customer-service center to update their information.

The Transportation Department asked Pierce County District Court to dismiss the remaining 11,000 infractions on Friday, when recipients would have been subject to a letter of default that could lower their credit score, send them to collection agencies and prevent them from renewing their license tabs.

People who already paid fines for about 1,600 violations will receive a refund from the court.

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