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Lobbyist Behind Genting’s Monorail Bid Helped Mayor Block South Dade Metrorail Plan

Dough Hanks
(Left to right) Ralph Garcia Toledo, Brian Goldmeier and Jesse Manzano Plaza, three leaders of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s 2016 reelection campaign. Garcia Toledo and Manzano Plaza are part of a proposal by Genting for a county monorail system.";

A year before he partnered with the Genting casino developer to pitch the county on a monorail to Miami Beach, lobbyist Ralph Garcia-Toledo played an insider role in helping Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez defeat a $1.3 billion Metrorail extension to South Dade.

Garcia-Toledo, chairman of Gimenez’s campaign-donor operation in 2016, accompanied the mayor and county transit chief Alice Bravo in five private meetings with elected officials, according to Bravo’s office and Garcia-Toledo. The officials held seats on a Miami-Dade transportation board that was deciding between a rail expansion that county consultants said wasn’t financially viable and the administration’s proposal for a $243 million system of modernized rapid-transit buses that would leave money to build transit projects elsewhere.

“He told me he felt strongly about the buses, which happened to coincide with my opinion,” Gimenez said of Garcia-Toledo, a regular donor in county races and finance chairman for the mayor’s reelection campaign. “He has influence over commissioners.”

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.