Report reveals new cost, plans for Trump's Mexico border wall
To see how this announcement fits into the timeline of border wall construction, click here.
- A Department of Homeland Security report found that President Donald Trump's proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico could cost almost $22 billion and take three and a half years to build, Reuters reported.
- The wall — as planned currently — would consist of a mix of fences and walls that would extend along the nation's southern border for approximately 1,250 miles, adding to the 654 miles of barriers currently in place. The DHS reported had not yet been officially presented to the president.
- The first $360 million phase of the wall is set for portions of San Diego, El Paso, TX, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, according to the report. The second phase would see wall construction advance to include areas around Laredo, TX, Tucson, AZ and Big Bend, TX. The third phase would then fill in the remaining open sections of the border.
One reason for the deviation from previous estimates of $12 billion to $15 billion are the necessary land acquisitions, as the Trump administration might have to resort to eminent domain laws to secure some of the property, according to Reuters. Cost estimates for the massive undertaking have varied greatly, as Republicans raised the estimate from $8 billion to $15 billion, and the latest DHS report at $22 billion. However, in an October MIT Technology Review report, New America Foundation fellow Konstantin Kakaes estimated the wall's cost at approximately $40 billion if built to what Trump described on the campaign trail.
The DHS report also revealed that the administration has already started the environmental waiver process for some areas of the proposed wall, has begun working with contractors and is starting to plan the necessary steel purchases. Construction firms have their eye on the wall project, which is under control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Immediately after Trump won the November election, construction and engineering stocks shot up in anticipation of his pledges to increase infrastructure spending and build the wall.
One of the most contentious campaign promises Trump made early on in his quest to become president was his plan to build a border wall, and his pledge that Mexico would pay for it. One of his first acts as president was to sign an executive order directing the DHS to begin planning and construction on the wall as soon as possible. House Republicans have introduced a plan that would provide $12 billion to $15 billion for construction. They haven't specified the source of funds, but the idea of a 20% import tax has been floated as a way to pay for it.
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