What will it cost?

One question that’s important to anyone considering funding on this site, or at all is how much the wall will cost, all said and done.  Estimates in public sources run anywhere from a low side of $6B-$8B to complete all segments, with a high side northward of $20B.  Without recent construction cost invoices, it’s hard to tell exactly how much the final tally will be.  This is of course relevant to us here at FundtheWall.com, since it dictates how much we may need to raise before we’re done.

There are many factors that come into play when determining how much it will cost to construct a given mile of barrier.  The terrain, certainly, but also proximity to civilization.  It’s expensive to ship materials, especially concrete and reinforcing rods, to remote locations.  Many existing sections were built on public land, and in the easier terrain nearer to civilized areas.  Thus, future sections are likely to be in the more expensive areas.

According to this CBO article, an average of $3.9 million per mile is justified, with many areas being far less expensive on a per-mile basis:.

Although the information is dated (since no more recent information is available, except for politically-charged estimates), we believe this is a good working scenario to start with.  We here at the American Border Foundation will be tracking costs once construction begins and will update estimates accordingly.

In fact, the recently-released appropriations bill includes language that requires the DHS to appraise the cost of achieving operational control of each mile of the border:

The Committee continues to believe that a more detailed plan is necessary to accurately estimate future costs, specifically regarding the design and construction of a physical barrier along parts of the southern border. As CBP studies the borders to determine the best means to achieve border security, the Committee directs CBP to provide, within 120 days of the date of enactment of this act, a detailed plan describing how to secure each border sector, including the estimated costs and types of physical barrier or technology necessary for each mile of the border.
The report should detail acquisition and legal costs associated with acquiring property through eminent domain and other means, as well as costs and impacts to communities and businesses, including tribes or ranchers who receive condemnation notices because the government invokes eminent domain. The report should also clearly articulate the methodologies and performance metrics used to develop the report. The Committee further directs that construction not begin on a section of physical barrier along the border
until its design is at least 90 percent complete. Further, as CBP executes the project, the Committee directs CBP to brief the Committee monthly on estimated costs versus actual costs.
So, regardless of how much money they get for construction, the DHS is required to provide the above detailed information in a constricted timeframe.  We will help them accomplish it.
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