Construction Plans for Border Wall
Reuters reported this morning that they received an internal report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detailing the construction of the border wall.
Details are still sketchy about the actual construction materials that will be needed and used (is it steel? Is it cement? How tall? Etc.) but we know it's planned for three phases, and will cost approximately $21.6 billion. That puts the cost at much higher than the $12 billion President Trump promised during his campaign, and also the $15 billion House Speaker Paul Ryan estimated. And the price could rise, as the leaked report shows they have not yet planned additional expenses when building in mountainous areas.
The construction will be in three phases:
First, 26 miles of fence will be built in the high-traffic areas of San Diego, California; El Paso, Texas; and Texas's Rio Grande Valley. The cost of this initial phase will be only $360 million, as there is already some infrastructure in place, and they would not need to secure land rights.
Second, 151 miles in and around the Rio Grande Valley; Laredo, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; El Paso, Texas and Big Bend, Texas.
Third, an unspecified 1,080 miles. (There is
currently 654 miles of "fortified" border, so this third phase would complete the construction.)
One of the reasons that the wall is to be more expensive than previously thought is that the government would have to secure land rights in many places, which could get pricey--and even have the possibility of price gouging. Due to these potential problems, the DHS has already begun the process of seizing land via eminent domain. Likewise, DHS has also begun preparing filings for environmental waivers to build through protected land.
The funding is expected in April or May, and construction is planned to begin around September. The project is estimated to take 3.5 years.