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Tollway wants accountability in Hoosier toll mistake
By Marni Pyke | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/27/2010 12:01 AM

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With $1.6 million missing in tolls alone from Indiana drivers, one Illinois tollway director wants the company involved in the blunder to account for it.

Miscommunication and lackadaisical oversight apparently led to nearly two years worth of tolls and fines owed by Hoosiers falling by the wayside, tollway directors learned at a committee meeting earlier this week. The glitch occurred when duplicate numbers on Indiana plates caused billing errors. As a result, officials halted sending out violation notices in May 2008 while the system was reprogrammed. The process should have been restarted in June 2008, but that didn't happen and no one noticed until April.

When fines are factored in, the total loss in fines and tolls comes to about $7 million, authorities said, and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority said it intends to recover. An audit is also planned.

Officials indicated responsibility for the snafu falls on both tollway staff and Electronic Transaction Consultants Corp., the company that maintains and provides software for the electronic toll collection system.

Given that the tollway has an $11 million contract with ETCC, Director Bill Morris said someone from the company should have explained in person.

"I'm very upset there's not someone here today," Morris said at a Thursday meeting.

ETCC spokeswoman Carla Kienast spokeswoman said, "The system that we provided works in accordance with requirements and approval of the tollway. Certainly, if we were invited we would be more than happy to attend a board meeting."

ETCC also supports the audit, Kienast added.