Yikes: Border Wall Just Got A Lot More Expensive

Ever since President Trump first announced his intentions to build a border wall between Mexico and the United States, both supporters and those opposed to the structure have had plenty to say about it - and several groups have weighed in with estimates on how expensive a border wall would be and how long it would take to build. (Spoiler alert: almost all estimates were higher than Trump's predictions.) Now, an internal report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that building Trump's wall will be an expensive procedure - and it's one that will take almost four years to finish.

The cost put forth in the DHS report is much higher than estimates by Trump and GOP congressional leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The report looks at the cost and timeline for building a physical barrier of walls and fences along the now unsecured sections of the U.S. -Mexico border - a little more than 1,250 miles.

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As the Reuters report notes, the government is already in touch with contractors and planning out steel purchases, so there's every reason to think that the Trump administration is serious about this project. Trump floated the possibility of taxing Mexican imports to pay for the wall.

Speaking at a conference of police chiefs in Washington on Wednesday, the president insisted: "The wall is getting designed right now". Later, Trump's administration suggested that the US would pay for the wall by imposing a 20 percent tariff on Mexican goods, which would merely pass the cost along to American consumers.

He cited the costs of F-35 fighter jet and the Air Force One programs as an example of his intervention leading to a lower price of the projects.

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The cost estimate in the leaked report is much higher than previous claims by both Trump and prominent Republican leaders.

Of the 2,000 mile border between the US and Mexico, 654 miles are already "fortified", and the plan maps out a three-phase construction process to seal the remaining 1,346 miles, which it estimates will take 3.5 years to complete.

The report lays out costs to cover the border with barriers, but funding constraints and legal battles are likely to place limits on those plans. If all goes according to plan, the wall could be completed just in time for the 2020 presidential election. But the rest of the construction will be markedly more expensive, covering a much larger stretch of land, much of it privately owned or inaccessible by road. The report estimated that agreement alone could bring the cost from $11 million per mile to $15 million per mile in one area.

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