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Cities, States Move to Bar Border Builders

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

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While contractors are lining up for a chance to take part in the construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, some state and local officials are hoping to use their clout to make the builders think twice.

State and municipal lawmakers in a number of jurisdictions are pushing to penalize companies who participate in the controversial project—a cornerstone of President Donald J. Trump’s bid for presidency.

San Francisco
© / Kropic

San Francisco lawmakers have introduced measures to ban the city from contracting with companies working on the federal border wall project.

Specifically, in San Francisco, leaders have proposed legislation that bars the city from contracting with companies that bid to work on the wall. Berkeley and Oakland are weighing similar measures. Another California state measure would require pension funds to liquidate investments in any of the companies working on the wall.

“If they participate in something so harmful to California’s economy and environment as a wall, then we don’t want to do business with them,” California Sen. Ricardo Lara told Bloomberg.

A New York lawmaker also reportedly floated a bill that would ban that state from doing business with the companies working on the wall.

Lining Up for Border Work

However, more than 200 contractors, both large firms and small, family-owned businesses, are interested in submitting plans to help design and build the border wall, reports say, citing Those firms include Hensel Phelps Construction Co. and Tutor Perini Corp., both of which have lucrative contracts with San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

R.E. Staite Engineering Inc., one California-based contractor preparing to bid, told Bloomberg that it was familiar with projects that evoke strong feelings. The company said it was involved in Exxon Valdez oil spill cleanup in Alaska and building a wharf for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The Associated General Contractors of America said Wednesday (March 29) that such proposals to punish companies for performing lawful work for the federal government is “discriminatory and obstructive,” warning that federal courts would strike such measures down, according to a press release.

Federal policy disagreements should not punish employers and their workers, Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's CEO argued. “The good men and women of the construction industry are entitled to pursue their livelihoods as fully and freely as anyone else, without being drawn into disputes that are not of their making; they are not pawns,” Sandherr said.

Seeking Prototypes

On March 17, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection released two Requests for Proposals to award multiple contracts and initial task orders for the design and construction of wall prototypes. Those documents can be viewed here and here.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The federal government has requested proposals for prototype designs, or phase I of the project. The deadline for bids is April 4.

The agency called for designs for a wall “physically imposing in height” to be built across the almost 2,000-mile border. The agency also requests the wall be able to withstand torches and sledgehammers as well as be “aesthetically pleasing” on its U.S.-facing side. It also must be able to prevent the construction of tunnels at least 6 feet underground.

The original deadline for potential bidders was Wednesday (March 29), but officials extended that date to April 4 in order to give the agency time to answer questions that companies had prior to Wednesday.

Ultimately, several 30-foot-long prototypes are to be built in San Diego and the federal government will award the contract based on those installations.

Meanwhile, the cost of the wall and who will pay for it continue to be subjects of debate.


Tagged categories: Associated General Contractors (AGC); Bidding; concrete; Contractors; Government; Government contracts; North America; Program/Project Management; Public Buildings; Public Transit

Comment from Ronald Michael, (4/4/2017, 8:32 AM)

Reagan helped bring down a wall in Berlin, Trump is erecting a wall in America. So sad and a colossal waste of money. We should be building roads, bridges and schools.

Comment from peter gibson, (4/4/2017, 4:59 PM)

Lets eliminate all walls, and have a free flow of humanity from country to country. Let is all hang out man. Tunnel and bore under walls. They do it now. Unless you go down 100 ft. So far nobody mentioned sub wall tunneling. Love to see the designs addressing this. Wont go deep ; add cost.

Comment from Jim Johnson, (4/6/2017, 11:06 AM)

Without secure borders you no longer have a country. A better way to resolve the problem would be to make all government programs applicable only to citizens. Then put a stiff fine on hiring any not legal non-citizen. Simply take away the incentive to come here illegally. We should also work a deal with Mexico to house illegals for us. We could pay Mexico to care for them while in jail there. That way they would earn Mexico an income and it would be less costly than jailing them here.

Comment from Mark Anater, (4/7/2017, 8:46 AM)

Do we really want a country where non-citizens can't get government services? Children who can't go to school, yet could be picked up for truancy? Workers at the mercy of their employers? Contrary to conservative dogma, immigrants don't come to the US to freeload on the dole, but to seek opportunities they can't get elsewhere, and to escape oppression. The best way to keep immigrants/refugees away is to improve their lives in their home countries, but that is a hard, expensive process that few in this country even want to think about, much less try.

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