Miami-Dade approves interim contract for monorail to Miami Beach

Miami-Dade approves interim contract for monorail to Miami Beach
A rendering of the monorail

Miami-Dade approves interim contract for monorail to Miami Beach

Contract marks the first step in approving nearly $600M system across MacArthur Causeway.

Plans for a monorail between the city of Miami and Miami Beach took a step forward on Tuesday.

In spite of calls for a deferral from Miami Beach, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved a contract of up to $14 million with Genting Group and Meridiam Infrastructure North America Corp. to study the feasibility of building the monorail within a year to 18 months. The commission would vote on a final plan and contract after the feasibility study is completed, according to a spokesperson for the project.

The resolution passed by a vote of 10 to 2, with commissioners Xavier Suarez and Rebeca Sosa dissenting. Mayor Carlos Gimenez, whose office pushed the proposal forward for a vote, declared himself “neutral,” and did not offer a recommendation on passing or rejecting the item.

The proposal was portrayed as a “baby step” by commissioner Esteban Bovo to explore the feasibility of moving forward with a larger $586.5 million agreement with MDM Partners LLC to build a monorail system across the MacArthur Causeway. MDM Partners LLC is led by Meridiam and Genting.

Meridiam built the $1 billion underwater PortMiami tunnel.

Genting, a Malaysian-based casino company, owns about 30 acres near the Adrienne Arsht Metromover station in Miami’s Omni neighborhood, including the former Omni Mall and the waterfront former Miami Herald site, with the intent of building a resort with a casino. So far, Genting has not been unable to secure legalization for a gambling operation on that land, but it did secure a deal with the county in 2017 to build a 300-room hotel and bus depot near the Metromover station.

Another partner in the venture is Rafael Armando Garcia-Toledo, president of G-T Construction, who served as campaign chairman for Gimenez’s mayoral re-election campaign. Gimenez, whose term ends in November, is now running for Congress.  
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