Florida Public Employees
By: Elaine De Valle, Ladra – Political Cortadito
The next big contract to watch at Miami-Dade could be the proposals the county is seeking to convert the heavy fleets of its departments — including Water and Sewer, Public Works, Transit and Waste Management — to clean energy or natural gas.
And, like always, the mayor’s friends and family want a piece of the pie.
Even before the county officially seeks proposals for conversion to clean energy and natural gas — the item was deferred from last week’s meeting — the well-connected Munilla brothers are gunning for the gig.
It looks like Munilla Construction Management, which from Ladra’s understanding has never built clean energy facilities before, is glomming on to a well-respected company that could, indeed, qualify for the work — no matterwho they partner with — in order to get the potential hundreds of millions that this contract could facilitate.
Under a headline that read “MCM Construction and Clean Energy Team to Bring CNG to Miami-Dade County,” a press release went out on Business Wire — the day before the commission meeting last week where it was to be discussed — that announced Munilla Construction Management was joining forces with Clean Energy Fuels Corp to bring compressed natural gas fueling to Miami-Dade County and South Florida. They already have a website.
Talk about being optimistic!
“The collaboration, which combines a Miami-based builder known for quality and safety in the construction of large-scale infrastructure projects with the country’s largest provider of natural gas as a transportation fuel, will be responding to the Miami-Dade County Request for Qualifications for Compressed Natural Gas Fuel Savings Pool expected to be released shortly,” the release states, adding a link to a “dedicated website for the joint MCM Clean Energy Miami-Dade effort.”
The issue has been on the radar for years. The county established a committee to study the conversion to CNG and issued a Request For
Information to gather information from the industry. The county posted draft versions of a Request For Proposal on the website for comment and input. A resolution authorizing the mayor to seek qualifications to “establish a pool of proposers,” was on the agenda last week, brought to the dais by ChairwomanRebeca Sosa, but it was pulled. The idea would be for private/public partnerships, but we know that means tax or bond dollars.
The item was deferred to Feb. 19, but Ladra smells a done deal.
“The country is quickly switching to natural gas — cleaner, less expensive and domestic — to fuel fleet vehicles and Miami-Dade County should be no exception,” the press release quotes MCM VP (and Gimenez bud) Pedro Munilla. “When MCM decided to expand our decades of construction experience and knowledge of South Florida to this market, we knew we had to partner with the best fuel provider and we found that in Clean Energy.”
“Clean Energy and MCM are a powerhouse team which combines the 30-year heavy civil construction and local Miami expertise of MCM with the national leader in natural gas fueling, infrastructure and financing solutions—Clean Energy,” the release quotes Peter Grace, senior vice president, sales and finance, Clean Energy.
Keyword: Powerhouse. Or, said another way, palanca.
The rest of the press release is just chest-thumping about the two companies and their “unique” qualifications — watch for that term — to do the job when it comes to providing clean natural gas energy to our local government. And, no doubt, one is.
California-based Clean Energy Corp, it says, built and operates natural gas fueling stations for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York’s JFK Airport and Tampa International Airport already. The company has built more private and public fueling stations and supplied the most gallons of natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable natural gas fuel than any other company in the U.S. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
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