#TBT Another Gimenez Junket, Taxpayers stuck with the bill... by #MiamiHerald

Miami Herald:
On the hunt for a cheaper alternative to Metrorail, Miami-Dade’s mayor heads to China


  • Taxpayers get stuck with the bill afterwards...

Eight months after he shook up Miami-Dade’s transit debate by proposing a high-tech “virtual train” bus as an alternative to expanding Metrorail, Mayor Carlos Gimenez is leading a delegation to visit the Chinese company that hopes to start selling the vehicles.
The CRRC Corporation’s train factory in Zhuzhou is the highlight of the first full-day in China for the traveling group of 50-plus elected officials, county administrators, lobbyists, developers and Miami-Dade contractors touring China and Japan on a 14-day trip that begins Tuesday.
Gimenez first floated the idea of using vehicles from the government-owned Chinese company during the summer of 2017, when he proposed a $534 million plan to create rapid-transit bus systems to connect Metrorail with commuters in Miami’s northern and southern suburbs. He pitched the idea as far more realistic than expanding Metrorail along the same routes, a project his administration said would cost at least $1.5 billion to build. ...
The Chinese company unveiled the vehicle in June 2017, and it is reportedly being tested in Zhuzhou. Accompanying Gimenez on the trip will be some of the commissioners who have been most adamant that Miami-Dade stick with its plans to expand Metrorail, including Barbara Jordan, whose district includes the proposed northern route along Northwest 27th Avenue.
Joining Jordan from the 13-member commissioner are Audrey Edmonson, Jose “Pepe” Diaz, and Jean Monestime, according to a list released Friday by the mayor’s office. Gimenez appointees joining the mayor are Ed Marquez, the deputy mayor for finance; Aviation Director Lester Sola; Water and Sewer Director Kevin Lynskey; Port Director Juan Kuryla; and Transportation Director Alice Bravo.
The mayor’s office did not have a budget for the trip, and the delegation list does not include mention of county police officers assigned to the sergeant-at-arms staff who in the past have traveled with the mayor and commissioners overseas. It also does not list any spouses.
The trip is funded by a mix of county and private dollars, including money from tax-funded organizations. Alex Ferro, Gimenez’s chief of staff, said the mayor and commissioners’ travel is funded by a county-controlled charity, the Trade Mission Center of the Americas. Housed in a county office building, the nonprofit’s most recent public tax returns list Edmonson, Diaz and a senior county administrator as its only board members.
#Basketcase #Gimenez outsources #transit-union repair #jobs worth $3.5 #Million... READ: http://www.miamisecretpapers.org/2018/03/basketcase-gimenez-outsources-transit.html

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