A U.S. construction company is making a formal, unsolicited offer to Trump administration officials in Washington this week to build 218 miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border for $3.3 billion and have the entire job completed in 13 months.
Arizona-based Fisher Industries President Tommy Fisher is meeting this week with top Department of Homeland Security officials, along with Democrats and Republicans in Congress, to sell his plan, the Washington Examiner has learned.
“DHS needs a contractor to build the border fence as fast as possible, without compromising the quality of the fence. The ideal contractor would build the border fence faster, of higher quality, and at less cost than any other contractor. Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. is that contractor,” Fisher Industries officials wrote in an official paper version of the proposal.
Replacement and new wall projects have struggled to get underway in Trump’s first two years in office. Less than 50 miles of wall have gone up in that time. House Democrats, leader by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., remain adamantly opposed to anything deemed a wall along the southern border — instead emphasizing other security measures like more border guards where necessary, drones, and other high-tech approaches.
Still, Tommy Fisher said it can build 218 miles of 18-foot steel bollard fence, along with paved concrete roads, lighting, and technology for $3.285 billion, a fraction of the $5.7 billion President Trump requested from Congress in December for a 234-mile project.
The fence’s steel is all made in-house and would be weathered to avoid rusting and the need for replacement for 75 years, Fisher said. The top of the fence would have spin cameras mounted to it with systems that use facial recognition technology.
The barrier would go up in four regions: 42 miles near Yuma, Ariz.; 69 miles near El Paso, Texas; 15 miles near El Centro, Calif.; and 91 miles near Tucson, Ariz.
Each mile would cost $12.5 million. Mobilization or start-up costs are estimated around $200 million and a $360 million five-year warranty is included in the total proposed cost. Fisher said all parts and labor would be American.
The project comes in $2 billion less than budgeted, Fisher said, because he has handled all of the procurement costs himself and came up with a new and cheaper way to build. A patent is pending on the fence installation process, which is not done the same as other wall projects because of a different type of excavator Caterpillar will make specifically for this project.
The government would have to approve the project by May 1 in order to guarantee its competition by June 2020.
Fisher demonstrated for DHS’ top planners and project managers in Tempe, Ariz., last month how it could build 180 feet of wall in two hours. The company has said it can build one mile of fence per day, ultimately getting to two miles per day.
If Trump officials sign off on the plan by May 1, Fisher said the project is already funded though Liberty Mutual bonding, and the other companies involved in the project are all ready to go. That’s highly unlikely, since the Trump administration and House Democrats remain at odds over the need for a border wall, or sections of it, in the first place.
Fisher told the Examiner in March he started putting the pieces together for this project in mid-2017. His company was one of the six awarded border wall prototype contracts that year. When the government signaled it wanted to go with a steel, slatted fence, he started procuring the means to build one.
Earlier this year, Trump signed an emergency order to obtain $6.6 billion in previously appropriated funding for the wall. He already has $1.375 billion of that amount from Congress, which can only be used to build fencing in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Army Corps of Engineers representative told the Examiner last month it was not ready to start looking at how to spend the $8 billion. The Corps is considering how to spend money Congress gave DHS last fiscal year and has not requested bids from the private sector because it’s still in the procurement process.
Author: Anna Giaritelli
Source: Washingtonexaminer: US company makes Trump $3.3B border offer: Quick turnaround on 218 miles of steel fence, roads, and tech