Car-rental hub delayed until 2009
By Charlotte Libov
Time needed to award a construction contract will cause an additional six-month delay in the opening of a car-rental hub to serve Miami International Airport, according to a state transportation spokesman.
Ric Katz, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said earlier this year that the hub, the first phase of the $1.3 billion Miami Intermodal Center, was to open in August 2008. But the opening now has been pushed to mid-2009, he said, because the contracting process is taking longer than was expected.
"It takes awhile to do all of the things that the state needs to do - to advertise, gather responses, screen and select," he said. He estimated that a contract will be awarded in August.
"With these contracts, there is a gap between the awarding of it and the actual mobilization when work can start," he said.
Any additional delays in the car-rental hub further pushes back the opening of the intermodal center, previously expected in 2010 but now planned for 2011 because the car-rental hub must be completed first.
The station is to link Tri-Rail, Metrorail, public and private bus services and taxis as well as the county's bikeway program, the state's high-speed intercity rail service and trains.
There also is to be an elevated people-mover that will connect the airport to the rental-car facility and the Miami Intermodal Center.
Another change is in the works - this one relating to the center's name. Until recently, the facility had been termed "Central Station," but officials are now referring to it as "Miami Central Station" because, Mr. Katz said, "eventually, it is expected that other Florida counties will also build facilities called 'central stations,' so we need to be able to have a moniker that distinguishes it."