FYI Miami: April 22, 2021
Below are some of the FYIs in this week’s edition. The entire content of this week’s FYIs and Insider sections is available by subscription only. To subscribe click here.
CRUISE CONTROL: Miami-Dade commissioners are asking President Joe Biden, Congress and the federal heads of the CDC, Department of Transportation and Office of Management to “provide updated reasoning” for why cruises can’t sail from US ports despite widespread vaccine rollouts and guidance on how passenger cruises can resume operations in US waters beginning in or before July. “As cruise lines, ports and health authorities navigate the labyrinthine processes set forth in the [CDC’s] conditional sailing order and associated guidance, it remains the case that not a single revenue cruise has departed from United States waters since March 13, 2020, causing billions of dollars in economic harm and many thousands of lost jobs,” said the item by Rebeca Sosa calling for such action, which passed unanimously Tuesday. “It is time for the federal government’s policies towards passenger cruises to reflect both the advancements made in the fight against Covid-19 and an equitable treatment of passenger cruise lines in relation to other forms of travel.”
AIRPORT CONTRACT STALLED: Miami-Dade’s award of a five-year, $70 million contract for miscellaneous construction at Miami International Airport (MIA) won’t come for at least two more weeks, as commissioners Tuesday punted an authorizing item in order to review new information about the contentious issue. Construction company MCM, which has held the contract since 2011, has contested the contract’s award to competitor Suffolk, which with partner NV2A was named by Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s administration as winner of a solicitation in which MCM ranked second. In response MCM, which went bankrupt following collapse of a bridge project it oversaw near FIU that killed six people in 2018, alleged county staff made mistakes in the MIA contract procurement process. More information on the issue has come to light since last week, when a county committee narrowly advanced the item, the county administration said, asking for more time to provide commissioners with the information. Eleven commissioners voted to defer. René Garcia and Joe Martinez voted no. “I know it’s a controversial issue, but nonetheless it’s time we take this one, because we have a contract that’s been in the wings and it’s been waiting,” Mr. Garcia said. “Let’s not fear the debate.”
HOMELESS PREVENTION: Miami City Commissioners will consider transferring $5,028,813.18 in emergency solutions grant funds from the Department of Housing and Community Development to Camillus House Inc. If the legislation is approved today (4/22), the non-profit Camillus House will be able to use the money for rapid rehousing and homeless prevention activities.