Pentagon Stops Construction of Three Border Wall Projects Due to High Costs

The Defense Department has decided to put the brakes on three border barrier projects in California and Arizona, a court filing showed on Monday.

Late last month, the Pentagon announced the construction of 20 miles of fencing, lighting and other border infrastructure that would have been built using funds reallocated from a counter-drug fund. That project was expected to cost $2.5 billion, less than expected, the Pentagon said in the authorization announced on August 27.

But the Monday filing by the department said that it would not be able to cover the costs of the project, Politico reports.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined at the time of the authorization that the counter-drugs funds would cover the costs incurred in the course of the construction, but it also acknowledged that the full financial situation would be known by end of the fiscal year.

It then informed the Defense Department that the funds would not cover the costs, prompting its withdrawal on September 13, according to a document attached to the court filing.

The border projects are part of a broader effort to build President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall, thus fulfilling a campaign promise. Ever since his 2016 campaign, President Trump has been urging Congress to come up with billions of dollars for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

His request was denied by Congress, resulting in a 35-day government shutdown, the longest one in the nation’s history. Since then, Trump has tapped into Pentagon funds to build the wall, but his move has also resulted in a number of legal challenges.

While some lower courts blocked the administration’s attempts to redirect Pentagon funding for the construction of the wall, the Supreme Court overturned these blocks in July when it allowed the use of $2.5 billion to replace already extant border infrastructure in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

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