In addition to private development, several joint-development affordable housing projects have recently been constructed along the Metrorail line with the intent of increasing ridership through transit-oriented development. These projects include Santa Clara apartments, Brownsville Transit Village,  and The Beacon, which is located near Historic Overtown/Lyric Theater Station in Downtown Miami . The headquarters of Miami-Dade Transit, also located next to Historic Overtown/Lyric Theater Station, is known as the Overtown Transit Village. Brownsville Transit Village, opening in March 2012, was visited by the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lisa P. Jackson , on January 5, 2012 to tour the 490-unit development, which will save an estimated five million gallons of water and $50,000 annually in utility bills due to environmentally sustainable plumbing fixtures.  Nonetheless, by 2016, Brownsville and Santa Clara were still the lowest ridership stations, the only ones to regularly post ridership numbers below 1,000 daily.  In general, stations to the north of Civic Center see much lower ridership, on average one-third of stations from Civic Center south. They are mostly in industrial areas with low population density and little development, as well as stagnant or declining populations, such as Gladeview and Brownsville . Additionally, stations to the north of Earlington Heights are only served by one line, giving them much longer headways .
Controversy first arose when the French-owned and Montgomery County, Maryland -based Keolis (already operating Virginia Railway Express trains) was the only bidder for the contract. The bidding process was suspended in the fall of 2010 due to lack of competition. Before bidding reopened in 2011, Maryland passed a law (at the request of Leo Bretholz and other Holocaust survivors) requiring Keolis's majority owner, SNCF (currently solely owned by the French government)  to fully disclose its role in transporting Jews to concentration camps during World War II (while SNCF was under control of the Nazi government), to the satisfaction of the Maryland state archivist, before Keolis would be allowed to place a bid for MARC service. Keolis faced similar issues while bidding for VRE operations in 2009, but in the end, they were allowed to run VRE.