Potential Wall Cost of $66.9 Billion Concerns McCaskill After Committee Staff Briefing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today wrote the head of the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) following a briefing provided to her committee staff in which the Administration provided the most information to date on the potential length and cost of a wall along the southern border.

At the briefing, officials indicated that the Administration budget blueprint for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 will request approximately $2.6 billion to construct fewer than 75 miles of new border wall. This results in an average cost of $36.6 million per mile. CBP also informed McCaskill’s committee staff that 1,827 miles of the border could contain a physical barrier—thus if the per-mile costs in the 2018 budget request are extrapolated, the barrier often described by the President would come in at a cost of $66.9 billion.

Importantly, this cost would also exclude the price of land acquisitions and subsequent litigation, which have been significant on existing border areas in which fencing has been built.  

“It is concerning that the cost of construction could also be significantly higher, as the cost of acquiring land currently owned by private individuals was not included in the estimate. Regardless, the $36.6 million per mile figure is the only information, and the closest to a cost estimate that the Committee has obtained from DHS,” McCaskill wrote.

A copy of McCaskill’s letter to CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan is available online HERE.