Contracts awarded for USA border wall prototypes

CBP announces contractors for border wall proposal

Just days after President Donald Trump promised that the wall would be built even if it meant shutting down the government, the Customs and Border Protection made an announcement Thursday that it has given contracts to four different companies to build prototypes.

CBP already has $20 million to build the prototypes, but beyond that the border wall is iffy.

"This is the first tangible result of the action planning that has gone on", Vitiello said at a news conference. The concrete prototypes are being envisioned as a secondary wall, to be built more than 150 feet inland from a see-through primary border barrier.

W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, Philadelphia, Mississippi.

But long-term funding for a border wall - which could cost $21.6 billion in one Department of Homeland Security estimate, much more according to critics - is still up in the air.

The deputy commissioner of CBP, Ronald Vitiello, said this work would help to refine the eventual construction programme.

CBP will make a decision on the "Other than Concrete" RFP in the next week and said that it expects construction to begin in the fall.

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According to Vitiello, the CBP will award additional contracts for non-concrete wall prototypes next week. CBP also requested proposals for walls built out of alternative materials. He says the testing will look at many things, including resistance and scaling.

The contracts range in price from about $400,000 (£309,000) to about $500,000 but the full project could become a $20bn job spanning the 2,000-mile frontier.

Though the U.S.House voted to approve $1.6 billion towards the wall in July, Congress has thus far been unwilling to cede to Trump's demands to fully fund a border wall.

"We're going to do this as quickly as possible", Vitiello said. John Hoeven, R-N.D., will be an influential voice in funding negotiations of the border wall.

Last month Mr Trump said he was prepared to force a government shutdown if he does not find the money to build his border wall.

However his promise for the southern neighbours to pay for it has been rejected by Mexican President Pena Nieto, who informed Mr Trump in August the country will not contribute funds to the project.

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