UPDATE: Genting’s Miami Monorail Casino Plan Opposed by Mayor and Florida Senators Rubio and Scott

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts of Genting to build and operate a Vegas style destination casino in Miami Florida. None of their efforts have found legs, so they are attempting a most usual Hail Mary. They are working to bid on and fully construct a tax payer monorail system that would connect people across the bay to Miami. The Miami-Dade commissioners voted to open a bid process, but it was clear the already proposed Genting plan would be positioned ahead of any possible new proposals.   It seems extremely clear that the ulterior motive to gain the political favor to get their casino plan passed. That alone has local lawmakers concerned with the project, but additional security concerns against given the companies ties to foreign entities in China. As a result, new measures are being pushed forward by local lawmakers, and they have the backing of Florida Senators Mark Rubio and Rick Scott. The Miami Herald reports: 

When Miami-Dade invites companies to bid on a transit link between Miami and Miami Beach, the county could tell Chinese train makers not to bother.

A rule embedded in draft bid documents proposed by Mayor Carlos Gimenez would bar participation by Chinese train and bus companies, a prohibition that goes to the heart of a monorail proposal by casino giant Genting to use China’s BYD as its rail partner.

The move follows backlash to BYD’s possible role in building a new transit system for Miami-Dade, including warnings from Florida’s two Republican senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, of potential security issues. Armando Ibarra, a lobbyist and head of Miami’s Young Republicans group, led a campaign to block BYD, including funding a poll aimed at showing a lack of support in Miami-Dade.

Its very clear that the point of their involvement is get a casino plan authorized, so simple opposition on that level is enough and a fair counter. But those involved stress the security concerns are real and need to be evaluated. The issue isn’t something fabricated in this instance to stop the deal either, its roots stem from federal legislation and security concerns. The Miami Herald continues: 

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber is an anti-gambling activist who objected to the monorail proposal for linking a transit system to a property where Genting wants to build a casino resort. While his objections to the Genting plan centered on gambling, the former Democratic lawmaker said the anti-China legislation — sponsored by Rubio in the Senate — addressed a valid worry.

“While foreign has its place, I get the concern” about security risks from Chinese firms, Gelber said. “It’s not a fictional concern.” 

BYD is already a player in U.S. transit as a supplier of electric buses and is pursuing rail projects across the country. The bid framework, subject to County Commission approval on Sept. 4, would require proposers to comply with aU.S. House bill designed to bar and other Chinese firms from supplying trains or buses — known as “rolling stock” — for new transit projects in the United States.

“If anyone uses rolling stock from China, it’s not allowed,” Gimenez said in a brief interview Thursday. The proposed Miami-Dade rule follows the language of House Bill 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2019, and would be in effect even if the federal legislation doesn’t pass, administration officials said

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