As lawmakers continue to debate how to pay for President Donald Trump’s wall along the border with Mexico, the Department of Homeland Security is considering how to build it.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is considering alternative design methods for the border wall, which will span up to 2,000 miles of the southern border, the CPB said Tuesday in a notice to potential vendors on the government contracting website FedBizOpps.
Department officials said earlier in March they envision “concrete wall structures, nominally 30 feet tall, that will meet requirements for aesthetics, anti-climbing, and resistance to tampering or damage,” fulfilling Trump’s vision for a “tall, powerful, beautiful wall.”
Now, CPB plans to release two separate requests for design proposals, “one focused on concrete designs, and one focused on other designs,” in order to accommodate industry feedback.
Once the department releases the request for proposals, vendors and contractors can submit their designs for review. CBP will select a few of those to bid on contracts to build and construct the wall.
“Industry interest has been high,” CBP said in its announcement. More than 650 companies, mainly construction companies, architecture and design firms, have declared interest in competing for contracts for the border wall project.
A spokesman for CBP told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he would not speculate on what sort of other designs the department was looking for.
One of the interested vendors, however, wants the government to consider constructing a wall out of old shipping containers. “One of our goals was to not be like the Great Wall of China or the Berlin Wall or any of those typologies that represent division,” Francisco Llado, principal architect at DOMO, a Miami-based design firm, told Politico. “Our design is not about division but about unity of sense and sustainable functionality.”
The border wall project is a divisive issue in American politics. Some of the firms that initially declared interest when the border wall project was first announced February 24 have backed out.
Raytheon, an engineering giant and Leo A Daly, an international architecture firm, were reportedly on the list of interested vendors at the start of the project, but have since withdrawn.
“We have formally withdrawn the web submission,” John J. Kraskiewicz, chief operations officer with Leo A Daly, told TheDCNF. The company automatically confirms interest in government projects in their wheelhouse, but had no interest in working on a wall structure along the Mexican border. There was never “any decision at any point that the firm had actual interest in this opportunity,” Kraskiewicz said.
While DHS moves forward planning the project, lawmakers are still debating how to pay for the wall. Trump insists that Mexico will pay for the wall, but Mexican officials have vehemently denied it will never happen. (RELATED: Republican Wants To Build The Border Wall With Drug Cartel Money)
The total cost and timeline of the project are unclear, but it will likely be a lucrative endeavor for the companies selected. Trump said the cost could be around $12 billion, and House Speaker Paul Ryan floated the number $15 billion. A Department of Homeland Security report obtained by Reuters earlier this month put the cost at $21 billion for the entire project.
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