Following months of campaign promises to build a "big, beautiful, powerful wall" on the southern border of the United States, the Trump administration has just posted bid guidelines for contractors looking to submit proposals for the multi-billion dollar project (the full RFPs can be viewed here). Among other things, the RFP calls for a 30-foot wall that could deter a physical breach for at least 1 hour...oh, and it also has to be "aesthetically pleasing in color"...but, only on the U.S. side. Per Reuters:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued requests for proposals for prototypes for a wall along the Mexican border, saying ideally it should be 30 feet (9 meters) high and the wall facing the U.S. side should be "aesthetically pleasing in color."
"Designs with heights of less than 18 feet are not acceptable," the document said. It said the wall should have features that do not allow people to climb over it and should prevent digging below the wall.
"The wall shall prevent/deter for a minimum of 1 hour the creation of a physical breach of the wall (e.g., punching through the wall) larger than 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter or square using sledgehammer, car jack, pickaxe, chisel, battery-operated impact tools, battery-operated cutting tools, oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools," it said.
And don't even think about climbing over or digging under the wall either...
"It shall not be possible for a human to climb to the top of the wall or access the top of the wall from either side unassisted (e.g. via the use of a ladder, etc.)," reads the RFP. "The wall design shall include anti-climb topping features that prevent scaling using common and more sophisticated climbing aids (e.g. grappling hooks, handholds, etc.)"
And the agency is also aware that some individuals may try and go under the wall. "The wall shall prevent digging or tunneling below it for a minimum of 6 feet below the lowest adjacent grade," reads the RFP.
Proposals are due to the government by March 29 and contracts are expected to be awarded based on 30-foot-wide sample walls that are to be built in San Diego.
Of course, as we've noted before, total cost estimates for the wall vary widely and range from $12 billion to over $20 billion. Per the Associated Press:
This week the president sent a budget proposal to Congress that included a $2.6 billion down payment for the wall. The total cost for the project is unclear, but the Government Accountability Office estimates it would cost about $6.5 million a mile for fence to keep pedestrians from crossing the border and about $1.8 million a mile for a vehicle barrier.
Congressional Republicans have said Trump's wall would cost between $12 billion and $15 billion and Trump has suggested $12 billion.
An internal report prepared for Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly estimated the cost of building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border at about $21 billion, according to a U.S. government official who is involved in border issues. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has not been made public.
As we recently noted, the new border wall is expected to be completed in three phases, with the first phase covering only 26 miles around the easily accessible areas surrounding San Diego, CA and El Paso, Texas. Among other things, starting with the easiest and most accessible sections of the wall will allow President Trump to declare an early victory on a key campaign promise.
Phase two of the project would cover another 151 miles around other large border cities while phase three would effectively seal off the border.
The plan lays out what it would take to seal the border in three phases of construction of fences and walls covering just over 1,250 miles (2,000 km) by the end of 2020.
With 654 miles (1,046 km) of the border already fortified, the new construction would extend almost the length of the entire border.
The report said the first phase would be the smallest, targeting sections covering 26 miles (42 km) near San Diego, California; El Paso, Texas; and in Texas's Rio Grande Valley.
The second phase of construction proposed in the report would cover 151 miles (242 km) of border in and around the Rio Grande Valley; Laredo, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; El Paso, Texas and Big Bend, Texas. The third phase would cover an unspecified 1,080 miles (1,728 km), essentially sealing off the entire U.S.-Mexico border.
Who could have seen this coming?