American, county to consolidate terminal bidding
By Sherri C. Ranta
American Airlines and Miami-Dade County officials have agreed to consolidate work on the $1.5 billion North Terminal at Miami International Airport into one bid package that engineers estimate will cost at least $300 million.
County and American officials "agreed we needed to conduct business a different way," acknowledging that "what had been done before didn't work," said Carlos Bonzon, the county's interim aviation director. Construction is as much as $158 million over budget and 18 months late.
American will consolidate terminal construction, previously handled piecemeal with multiple bid packages, into one project, Mr. Bonzon said.
American put the work out for bids last month. Bids are to be opened at 10 a.m. Feb. 3. Bids for the North Terminal apron, estimated at $25 million, will be opened Feb. 4.
Felix Pereira, North Terminal program chief, said the large contract will let American make one contractor responsible for schedules, dates and budgets. At one point, American had 100 bid packages for terminal work, he said.
Officials now estimate the terminal will be completed in first-quarter 2008, Mr. Pereira said. Two months ago, their target was in 2007.
Aviation officials expect to ask the county commission to amend the 1995 construction and financing agreement putting American in charge of North Terminal construction.
An amendment would include more cost overruns and delays, Mr. Bonzon said. American officials asked the commission two years ago for an additional $211 million. American officials have said they will seek at least $66 million more.
Another $92 million is needed for baggage-screening equipment required by the federal government, Mr. Bonzon said. The county, he said, will seek 75% of those funds from the Transportation Security Administration.