County Set To Take Bids For Airporttransportation Hub Connector
By Shannon Pettypiece
County officials are preparing to solicit bids for a light-rail connector between Miami International Airport and a planned transportation hub although funding for the project is still unknown.
Greg Owens of the county’s Aviation Department said the bidding process could take three months.
As work progresses on the first component of the Miami Intermodal Center, County Manager George Burgess is trying to come up with an estimated $300 million to pay for the connector.
After the airport said it would not have the money to pay for the rail connector this summer, the county took over the task of looking for the money.
Officials with the Florida Department of Transportation, working on the site for three months, said last month that they wanted to know by today (10/23) how the connector would be financed or they would reconsider the project.
Mr. Burgess said Monday that the county would not meet the deadline and won’t have a financing plan until November.
State transportation officials are willing to wait a little longer for a financing plan, spokesman Ric Katz said Tuesday, because the county has assured them that it will come up with the money.
"We are very comfortable that the county is focused on this and particularly that manager Burgess is paying a lot of attention to it," Mr. Katz said. "The fact that it is not going to be in finished form this month is not disturbing. We are dong a lot of site work based on funding the (Department of Transportation) has advanced."
The county’s aviation department, meanwhile, is working on contracts with rental-car companies who want to place facilities at the $1 million hub. Mr. Owens said the aviation department and the rental car companies are about a month away from finalizing an agreement.
"We are looking to complete negotiations with the rental-car companies sometime next month," Mr. Owens said. "Once we complete negotiations, companies have to get their corporate boards to approve the agreements."
The rental-car companies want to make sure there will be a connector between the hub and the airport within two years, Mr. Owens said.