USA issues call for border-wall designs

Kristopher Drake
March 20, 2017

Trump signs an executive order to start the Mexico border wall project on January 25.

But amid intense political pressure, on March 16 the company confirmed that it would not be involved in the project.

The total cost for the project is unclear, but the Government Accountability Office estimates that it would cost about $6.5 million a mile for a fence to keep pedestrians from crossing the border and about $1.8 million a mile for a vehicle barrier.

"We will not participate", Perez said in a phone interview.

Trump claims the initial construction cost will only set back the US about $10 billion but that number is considered a lowball estimate by experts, who believe the wall will cause a $25 billion budget impact, according to a Washington Post report.

Cuevas, the head of the Senate foreign relations committee, said negotiations were also under way to amend existing laws on public works projects and government purchases to exert similar pressure.

But company leaders find themselves in a bind.

Mexican cement giant Cemex back-flipped on comments that it was ready to supply materials for the wall. That likely would not cover the full cost of the wall, which is estimated at between $10 billion and $25 billion. Mexican newspapers have even maligned Latino-owned construction firms in the US that plan to bid on the project. Ultimately, the wall will cut through at least 1,000 miles of mountains, desert and farms - possibly through eminent domain land grabs - bordering the southwest border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. However, the Department of Homeland Security successfully lobbied to the International Boundary and Water Commission (which manages the treaty) to build a wall in the floodplain in 2012, setting a precedent that could be used against Flores.

And the agency is also aware that some individuals may try and go under the wall.

If that happens, Cemex could be a rare victor in Mexico's otherwise troubled economy, which last month saw inflation rates hit a seven-year high.

There is one Mexican firm hoping to take advantage of the quickly changing relationship between the USA and Mexico.

The specifications leave almost all of the design work to interested bidders, who now have about two weeks to develop and submit their plans, known as proposals.

In an interview with El Pais newspaper this week, owner Theodore Atalla said he doesn't expect to win a contract. It should come as no surprise that Twitter wits had something to say about that aspect of the wall too.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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