Thursday, 4:30 PM
Turnpike fires company that runs Fast Lane
By Mac Daniel, Globe Staff
The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority has fired the company that runs its Fast Lane electronic toll program, giving TransCore a year to leave after turnpike officials said the company wanted to charge millions of dollars to make changes to the system.
"At this time we believe it is in the best interest of the Authority and the traveling public to terminate this contract and seek competitive proposals for electronic toll collection services," said a letter sent Wednesday by the authority chairman, John Cogliano, to TransCore.
Pennsylvania-based TransCore has been the sole contractor for Fast Lane since the program started in 1998. A new 10-year contract was negotiated with the company in 2005.
TransCore, which runs similar toll collection systems on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and elsewhere, was due to be paid about $100 million for the 10-year contract.
"By terminating this contract, this will help us provide in the long run a better service at a better price to the traveling public," Cogliano said today in an interview.
As part of a review of turnpike practices, Cogliano said he had asked the company to stop sending out a barrage of violation letters to offenders, a practice that cost the authority $650,000 last year. He also asked TransCore to make the system recognize the difference between specialty license plates, which can have the exact same letters and numbers as another vehicle with regular plates. The problem can result in drivers being falsely accused of toll violations.
In both instances, Cogliano said, TransCore officials wanted to charge the authority nearly $1.2 million to make the changes.