Texas awards $307M for 2 projects to build 14 miles of border wall

Dive Brief:

  • Texas has given the green light to two U.S.-Mexico border wall construction projects worth a total of $307 million, according to the Texas Facilities Commission, which will together encompass nearly 14 miles of new barrier. 
  • The TFC on Thursday approved a $167 million contract for New Mexico-based Southwest Valley Constructors to build 6.7 miles of wall near Del Rio, Texas, and a $140 million contract with BFBC of Texas, a subsidiary of Bozeman, Montana-based Barnard Construction, to build 6.95 miles of wall in the Rio Grande Valley.
  • The state is currently negotiating land-use agreements with private property owners for new sections of the barrier, according to the TFC website. It’s still too early in the process to estimate a groundbreaking date, according to TFC spokesperson Francoise Luca.

Dive Insight:

A U.S.-Mexico wall was a signature issue for former President Donald Trump, and about 458 miles of fencing and other barriers were built in multiple states along the nearly 2,000-mile southern border under his watch. Much of this involved updating or replacing existing barriers; the amount of new wall the federal government built covered 80 miles. 

Along the Texas-Mexico border, the feds built 21 miles from scratch and replaced another 34 miles of older barrier, according to the Texas Tribune.

President Joe Biden vowed during his election campaign to stop all wall construction between the two countries, but since then, his administration has repeatedly funded efforts to shore up existing barriers and has also built new structures in Texas. In July, Biden also authorized gaps in the border wall near Yuma, Arizona, to be filled. 

While it doesn’t fund walls specifically, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act designates $3.4 billion to build and modernize land ports of entry on the country’s borders through the General Services Administration, including six projects on the southern border.

Last year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the state would use its own money to resume border wall construction, and he has also solicited private donations for the effort. So far, Texas has completed 1.7 miles on state-owned land in Starr County, according to Luca. That segment was erected by Farmingdale, New York-based Posillico Civil, which won a $162 million design-build contract in November 2021 to construct eight miles of wall.

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