Bids Nearly Double Budget for Miami Rental-Car Hub

The lowest bid to build a rental-car hub near Miami International Airport is for $399.9 million, according to Miami Today, almost double the $217.6 million budgeted, but the Florida Department of Transportation remains committed to the project, a spokesman said.

State officials are disappointed that bids were so high, having estimated the project to be in the $230 million to $250 million range. However, they remain determined to build the facility, Miami Today reports.

Department and project spokesmen say part of the discussion might focus on where to find additional funds as they hope to begin construction in 2007, avoiding any reduction in the program. Officials declined to say what additional funding sources could be used to fill the $182 million gap.

Two bids were opened this month. Turner Construction Co. bid $399.9 million and Odebrecht Construction $470.1 million, department spokesmen say, noting that the state has 60 days to award the contract but a quicker decision is expected.

In January, the facility, which was two years behind schedule, was downscaled to 6,800 spaces from 9,500 because fewer car-rental companies than expected were interested in setting up there due to a decline in air traffic after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Of 22 companies that expressed early interest, only 16 remained interested, state officials said.

Although the major part of the hub has yet to rise, foundations built by Turner Construction are in place. A spokesman for Odebrecht Construction says that costs have gone up dramatically in the two to three years that the project has been in suspension.

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