There are currently a lot of construction hats at Miami-area transportation facilities. The Miami International Airport has recently opened its newly constructed North Terminal and new MIA Mover people mover system, and construction is underway of the Miami Intermodal Center, a massive ground transportation hub connecting the airport to Metrorail, Metrobus, rental cars, etc.

Not to be outdone, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is beginning a half-billion dollar expansion.  And, of course, the happenings at Miami’s Seaport (PortMiami) trump all. The Port is currently constructing a tunnel connecting it to I-95, commencing a massive dredging project to accommodate the New Panamax ships set to arrive through the expanded Panama Canal in 2014, and plans to add rail service, a megayacht marina, and a hotel.

New opportunities for Public-Private Partnerships

With these expansions will come many new opportunities for public-private partnerships. These include additional opportunities to engage in existing, proven P3 structures, such as retail and restaurant concession agreements at the new airport terminals. But opportunities for larger scale and more novel P3s are also around the corner. For example, FDOT plans to enter into a P3 at the Miami Intermodal Center to develop several uses, which may include meeting spaces, offices, hotels, and entertainment.  The lack of specificity is intentional and will permit multiple developers to come forth with diverse, novel ideas for both the development itself, as well as for funding, management and revenue sharing.

Similarly, the Port of Miami’s ambitious plans for a megayacht marina and hotel will almost certainly result in innovative P3s with private developers. Although the port probably could design, build, fund, and manage a hotel by itself, the result would be unlikely to compete with the several new, privately run hotels located within plain view from the port in the City of Miami. But by availing itself of the funding sources and know-how of the private sector through a PPP, the port can obtain a better product in less time and with less of its own effort. For this reason, the port, along with every other public transportation agency, is likely to be offering an increasing number of P3 opportunities in the near future.