A federal solicitation for proposals to build a wall along the United States’ southern border with Mexico closed this afternoon after staying online for nearly a month.
It received a whopping 732 submissions from interested vendors.
Corporate interest in building the wall was so high that Customs and Border Protection submitted two requests for proposals in mid-March; one for those interested in submitting proposals for concrete-based structures, and one “focused on other designs.” (CBP created an email address specifically designed to field inquiries for the project at BorderWallDesignBuild@cbp.dhs.gov.)
A spokesman for CBP says the agency will now choose a select few proposals (though he declined to divulge how many, or when the department will make the decision) and fund the building of “multiple prototypes,” each of them 30 feet long and 18-30 feet high, along San Diego County’s border with Mexico. Though San Diego is the smallest geographic region monitored by CBP, it sees the highest number of attempts at unauthorized entry into the U.S., and has significant existing border infrastructure with which CBP can evaluate the prototypes.
The spokesman also said CBP anticipates prototype construction will begin in June, “pending availability of funds.” So far, it’s looking like a tough sell — though President Donald Trump has supported appropriating funds for the wall in a supplemental military spending bill, some conservative lawmakers have signaled those negotiations won’t take place until later this year.
In the meantime, CBP officials will continue to monitor the nearly 700 miles of fencing that already exists along the U.S.-Mexico border.