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State officials have shortlisted five companies to design and build barriers on the Texas-Mexico border – including some companies questioning the quality of their work or their environmental impact on previous wall projects under the Trump administration had asked.
The Texas Facilities Commission, the state agency responsible for awarding the contract, is currently interviewing BFBC of Texas, Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., Posillico Civil Inc., SLSCO, and Southwest Valley Constructors Co.
Francoise Luca, a commission spokeswoman, said the agency will decide which companies will win contracts, but there is no announced timetable for the public naming of the winners. All five companies have previously received or were considered for contracts with federal border walls under the Trump administration.
In 2020, North Dakota-based Fisher Sand & Gravel built a 3-mile wall for $ 45 million on the edge of the Rio Grande in Mission. The company was hired by We Build the Wall, a nonprofit that crowdfunded private donations and listed Steve Bannon, a former Trump political strategist, as a board member.
A Texas Tribune / ProPublica investigation found last year that the company’s wall showed signs of runoff erosion which, if not repaired, could create a risk of falling into the Rio Grande, according to engineers and hydrologists who reviewed photos of the wall.
Tommy Fisher, the company’s president, has addressed concerns through a company attorney, Mark Courtois, who describes erosion as “a normal part of new construction projects like this and does not affect the fence or pavement in any way.”
Following that project, the company also won a $ 1.3 billion federal contract in May 2020 to build border walls in Arizona.
Southwest Valley Constructors Co., a New Mexico-based subsidiary of Kiewit Corp., had previously received contracts worth at least $ 2.7 billion from the Trump administration for border barriers in Arizona and Texas. U.S. fish and wildlife officials in Arizona raised concerns that the work of the company The water table sank in a wildlife sanctuary in southern Arizona.
BFBC of Texas, a Montana-based subsidiary of Barnard Construction, won a $ 142 million federal contract in May 2019 to replace existing barriers in Arizona. The contract was put to the test from state guard dogs after it was modified and blown to $ 569 million a year later.
Texas-based SLSCO won $ 2.2 billion in border wall contracts during the Trump administration. In January 2020, a fence section of the company built in Calexico, California, was blown over during construction, which a border guard officer accused in strong winds that beat before the concrete had dried.
Posillico Civil Inc., based in New York, was shortlisted for contracts with federal border walls, but has not received an order.
In total, before leaving office, Trump’s administration erected about 80 miles of new barriers on the nearly 2,000-mile US-Mexico border, including 34 miles along the Texas-Mexico border. The Biden government has halted all construction and companies that have put up barriers have started to repair the environmental damage caused by the border wall work.
government Gregor Abbott has made border security one of his main agenda items as he plans to be re-elected next year. He asked for private donations for the border wall, sent state troopers and Texas Rangers to some border towns to arrest migrant asylum seekers on state charges, and sued the Biden administration for attempting to reverse Trump-era immigration policies.
In September, the Texas Facilities Commission awarded Michael Baker International Inc. and Huitt-Zollars a $ 11 million contract to oversee the construction of a barrier along the border, identify state land on which to build barriers, and “To find willing private landowners to facilitate this”. Construction â, so the request for quotation.