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AGC Seeks Protection for Border Wall Contractors

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

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The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has issued a call for protection for companies working on the U.S.-Mexico border wall and its prototypes in light of threats by some local governments to not do business with the contractors due to political opposition to the wall.

Call to Action

This request for protection comes in the form of a plea to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to sue those local governments that have taken action, or are at the very least considering it. According to AGC, penalizing contractors for working under lawful federal contracts is unconstitutional.

The AGC has also called for protection for workers on a more local scale, which involves covering cost of security and damages from vandalism.

Even though Congress has yet to allocate funding for President Donald J. Trump’s border wall endeavor, some companies are hesitating as to whether or not they should become involved at all, due to concerns over backlash.

“This is not an attractive business decision, considering a lot of the opposition and the little support you’re getting from the federal government,” Jordan Howard, director of the AGC Federal and Heavy Construction Division, told Bloomberg Politics.

Government Action

California’s municipalities of Berkeley, Richmond and Oakland, along with Arizona’s Tucson, have already taken action, issuing a resolution to stop doing business with firms involved with the border wall construction or to divest of business with them completely. According to Bloomberg, Oakland's City Council will vote Nov. 7 on whether this restriction should be passed into city law.

Eight states and 10 other municipalities have proposed taking similar measures.

“Failure by the government to take action against such measures will embolden states and municipalities to discriminate against private companies that perform all sorts of controversial work for government, not just border-wall work,” Michael Kennedy, general counsel for the AGC, wrote in a letter to the Attorney General, according to Bloomberg.

Border Wall Samples

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Oct. 26 that the construction of prototype border wall segments in southern California is complete, and a testing and evaluation period is underway.

Six contractors from throughout the country were selected as part of two requests for proposals earlier this year—one for a concrete border wall prototype and one for a prototype made with “other materials.” Construction began in late September on the prototypes, which were required to stand 18 to 30 feet high and 30 feet long.

The concrete request for proposals, issued in March, called for the design and construction of a reinforced concrete wall along with tactical infrastructure, including access roads, fencing, drainage structures, vehicle gates, LED lighting, fiber optics and communication towers. The government’s nominal design was for a 30-foot wall, though designs 18 feet or taller were also considered.

Wall Background

The border wall was a campaign signature for President Trump; a funding solution has not yet been reached by the President and Congress.

The U.S.-Mexico border stretches nearly 2,000 miles, with about 670 miles currently divided by fencing, much of which was built after a 2006 authorization signed by former President George W. Bush.

Current fencing includes stretches of post-and-rail, chain-link, sheet metal and other fencing materials.

   

Tagged categories: Associated General Contractors (AGC); Contractors; Government; Government contracts; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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