A new report from NPR reveals President Trump is likely building the most extravagant and expensive border wall in modern history.
NPR reports the pricetag for President Trump’s border wall has topped $11 billion — or nearly $20 million a mile — to become the most expensive wall of its kind anywhere in the world.
In a status report last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is overseeing wall construction, reported that $11 billion has been identified since Trump took office to construct 576 miles of a new “border wall system.”
And the Trump administration is on the hunt for funding to build even more. The Department of Homeland Security has asked the Defense Department to come up with money for 270 additional miles of border wall that DHS says is needed to block drug smuggling routes on federal land. The Pentagon is studying the request, which did not come with a dollar figure.
If the Trump administration completes all of the wall projects it has set in motion, three-quarters of the U.S. southern border would be walled off from Mexico. The government inherited about 650 miles of border structures erected under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
“You’re going to have a wall like no other. It’s going to be a powerful, terrific wall,” President Trump said at a rally in Milwaukee last week. “A very big and very powerful border wall is going up at a record speed, and we are fully financed now, isn’t that nice?”
To get an idea why the government is spending so much on Trump’s border wall, look no further than the construction sites down in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
On one side of a caliche road, you can see the pedestrian fence that was erected more than a decade ago. At 18 feet, it looks downright puny. On the other side of the road are massive steel bollards topped with an “anti-climbing plate” that rise 30 feet above the cotton fields, surrounded by men in hardhats and heavy equipment.
Bush’s fence averaged $4 million a mile; Trump’s wall costs five times that—$20 million a mile. The overall cost of $11 billion is approaching the price of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
“The border wall system will include a 150-foot enforcement zone, lighting, cameras, other technology, and most importantly an all-weather access road making it easier to respond to (undocumented immigrant) traffic,” Alvarez said. “So it’s not just gonna be the barrier itself.”
There’s more steel — an expensive commodity — in a 30-foot structure. Also, there are powerful floodlights, and every mile will have conduit for electric power and fiber optics that connect the surveillance cameras. Electronic gates that allow passage through the wall cost up to $1 million a piece. And there’s a graded, graveled enforcement zone as wide as a six-lane highway.
Read more here.