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MIA blame? Ex Miami-Dade Mayor, Rep. Carlos Gimenez, unhappy with Levine Cava's finger-pointing

Miami-Dade Mayor announces investment plans for MIA repairs, previous mayor reacts
Miami-Dade Mayor announces investment plans for MIA repairs, previous mayor reacts 03:15

MIAMI - On Thursday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava pointed to past administrations for not investing enough in Miami International Airport.

Something she says her administration is now doing.

CBS News Miami's Joe Gorchow reached out to former Miami-Dade Mayor, Congressman Carlos Gimenez, who is unhappy with Levine Cava's finger-pointing.

"I took offense to it. I mean, saying that somehow, it's previous administrations. Actually, pointing the finger at me."

Miami International Airport Skytrain expected to resume service this spring, Mayor Cava says 02:35

Gimenez served nearly a decade as Miami-Dade County's mayor before Levine Cava entered that role in 2020.

"The powerful economic engine has been at the center of decades of neglected maintenance."

In a press conference, Levine Cava put the issues plaguing MIA at previous administrations. 

Signs block access to airport elevators, moving walkways, and escalators throughout the facility. 

The Skytrain in Concourse D has been out of service since last September. Levine Cava expects it to be up and running by March.

"Came in as mayor and saw the problems. No mayor, no administration has had the vision or the courage to make such significant investments in our airport," said the mayor.

Gimenez responded, "That's ridiculous. Previous administrations have spent billions of dollars at Miami International Airport.  Look, the north terminal, the south terminal, all those were done, not during my time just, but during previous administrations, and so that I find that to be ludicrous."

So, who's to blame for disrepairs at MIA? 02:44

So, with the county commission's backing, $7 Billion will be put into capital infrastructure investment at the airport, with another $1.7 billion in maintenance. 

"It's critical we keep this global gateway running."

Levine Cava said deferred maintenance before her tenure and lack of significant investment contributed to the current signs. 

"I never heard of my airport director coming to me and saying, by the way, we're deferring this maintenance for X, Y, and Z reasons. There was no need to."

Cava believes delays in addressing repairs started with a need for more investment and finding the right contractor.

"It took us two years to change out the contract that could work 24/7 to move forward aggressively."

"All those things were being maintained during my time as mayor, and we never had an issue, never had a problem.  Never had a question as to why we don't have enough money to maintain this airport."

With the new investment, Gimenez tells CBS News Miami the airport needs to maintain what we have, but expand to make it better and a better customer experience.

And as Levine Cava mentioned in the press conference, that is her goal. 

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