U.S. Customs and Border Protection has analyzed several types of barriers for use on the Southwestern border but has failed to estimate the costs of building those barriers in all relevant locations, according to a report out Monday from the Government Accountability Office.
As a result, the cost of the border wall could end up being higher than the current estimate of $25 billion.
In 2017, CBP award contracts to six companies for the construction of eight barrier prototypes (see below). CBP developed a method for evaluating those barriers focused on engineering, operations and denial of entry to immigrants. However, CBP did not attach cost estimates for constructing the various kinds of barriers along specific parts of the border, and those costs “can vary depending on topography, land ownership, and other factors,” the GAO said. Without that data, “CBP does not have complete information for prioritizing locations to use its resources in the most cost-effective manner.”
In conclusion, the GAO warned that the failure to develop comprehensive cost estimates puts the wall at risk of not performing as intended: “[Department of Homeland Security] plans to spend billions of dollars developing and deploying new barriers along the southwest border. However, by proceeding without key information on cost, acquisition baselines, and the contributions of previous barrier and technology deployments, DHS faces an increased risk that the Border Wall System Program will cost more than projected, take longer than planned, or not fully perform as expected.”