Port of Miami to install automated toll collections, expects to boost revenues $400,000 a year
By Risa Polansky
Eight years after Miami International Airport more than doubled its ground transportation fee income by installing automated toll collections, the Port of Miami is following suit.
Miami-Dade commissioners Tuesday approved a three-year, $1.13 million contract with Transcore LP for a system to monitor and charge commercial vehicles coming in and out of the port.
Now, the port uses an "honor system" to track activity and levy fees, documents say.
Vehicle operators handwrite forms. Seaport employees verify them.
"Often, the forms are difficult to read and the information is inaccurate. This impairs the billing and collection of revenue," documents say. "The "honor system' lacks controls and leads to fraud," such as falsifying forms and bypassing collection booths.
When the airport made the switch from the honor system to automated tracking and charging in 2001, revenue more than doubled.
The seaport hopes for similar results.
Despite the eight-year lag after observing the airport's results, a new system at the seaport is now "time sensitive," a report to commissioners says.
The port expects an added $400,000 in revenue a year by automating tolls.
"Each month this implementation is delayed has an impact of approximately $33,000…" the report says.
It's unclear why the lost revenue and potential fraud wasn't an issue earlier. Seaport officials did not return calls or e-mails.
An automated system "made a world of difference" at the airport, more than doubling revenues the first year, said Monica Beltran, division director for landside operations.
Before, there was room for error and misreporting, she said.
"Following the implementation [of the new system] there was a technological count, an automated count. There was no argument… Information was more accurate."