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Front Page » Top Stories » County Could Take Over Terminal Construction Soon

County Could Take Over Terminal Construction Soon

Written by on June 9, 2005

By Sherri C. Ranta
Miami-Dade County commissioners could decide June 21 to take over the American Airlines North Terminal construction project at Miami International Airport.

Commissioners plan to consider contracts that would put the $1.9 billion project into the county’s hands, hire Parsons-Odebrecht Joint Venture as managing general contractor with a completion date of 2009 and retain Alpha Construction and Engineering to handle all claims associated with American’s tenure, said George Burgess, county manager.

The proposed agreements come after months of negotiations with American Airlines. Initially, there did not seem to be interest on the part of American to provide additional funding, but Mr. Burgess said Monday that airline officials are now being cooperative.

Under new agreements, American would pay $110 million to the county over the next 10 years to mitigate costs associated with construction delays and contractor claims while in charge of the North Terminal.

"What we put on the table is a fair number," Mr. Burgess said. The money will be above what American Airlines would pay in fees to use the new terminal once it is completed. Provisions in the contracts provide alternative ways to recover the money if American goes into bankruptcy.

Commissioners will be asked to approve a $542 million contract with Parsons-Odebrecht, which includes a lump-sum fee of $36.7 million plus labor costs of $52.6 million.

Mr. Burgess said he is pleased with the proposed contract with Parsons, managing contractor for the South Terminal project scheduled for completion in March.

The company’s contract, if approved by commissioners, would be worth $48 million less than what the companies had submitted in a bid to the county earlier this year. "They can jump over and step in fairly quickly," he said. "Time is money."

Commissioners also will be asked to approve a contract with Alpha Construction and Engineering, which will be retained to handle claims generated while American Airlines was in charge of the project.

"We’re pursuing every avenue available to make sure all parties step up and assume responsibility," Mr. Burgess said.

There is "plenty of blame to go around," the county manager said regarding the North Terminal project, which is running over budget and behind schedule. The structure in place "simply wasn’t working," Mr. Burgess said. "We needed to have a more streamlined, collective approach."

Commissioners may have to deal with complaints from Turner-Austin, a joint venture serving as American’s managing contractor, which did not submit a bid for the North Terminal project when the county and American sought to consolidate the bids earlier this year.

"They’re actually making rumblings that they would like to participate," Mr. Burgess said. He said the companies’ performance on the project was "less than stellar."