State Transit Officials Seek Ways To Cut Costs Of Rentalcar Hub
Written by Charlotte Libov on November 2, 2006
By Charlotte Libov
Both bids to build Miami International Airport’s car-rental hub have been officially rejected, but Florida Department of Transportation officials are talking with officials of the low bidder, Turner Construction Co., about ways to lower expected costs.
"We’re talking to them about different ways of estimating costs, and it’s possible they may come back with a sharper pencil," said Ric Katz, a project spokesman. Under the plan, the contractor would assume a certain amount of risk that would be built into the contract price, he said.
In addition, the state is looking at charging car-rental companies additional rent to help cover the cost of the project, Mr. Katz said. A fee for every transaction would be raised once the new facility is in operation.
"That money is already being banked and is growing. Once the facility is open, it will go for construction and eventually maintenance, so the facility can be a self-sustaining entity," he said.
The facility was discussed at a Miami-Dade County Commission regional transportation committee workshop last week. Gary Donn, the state’s director of transportation support, said state officials were disappointed in the bids.
"The project was downsized after 9/11, so we had hoped the bids would go down," he said. But "it’s the same issue as with the North Terminal." Earlier that day, Miami-Dade County aviation officials said the terminal would cost $1 billion more than expected due in part to increases in raw materials and labor costs.
The state opened bids in September for the car-rental hub, which had been budgeted at $217.6 million. Turner Construction Co. bid $399.9 million and Odebrecht Construction $470.1 million.
State transportation officials are committed to beginning construction next year, Mr. Katz has said.
It was announced in January that the facility, two years behind schedule at the time, was to be downsized to 6,800 spaces from 9,500 because the 9/11 terrorists attacks and a subsequent decline in airline passenger traffic caused a drop in the number of car-rental companies interested in the hub. Originally, 22 companies were interested in the facility. The number had declined to 16.