Today’s the deadline for design bids on Trump’s wall – and you can expect some doozies!
This file photo taken on February 14, 2017 shows a section of the border fence on the US/Mexico border in Tecate, California.With debate raging in the United States and Mexico over President Donald Trumps plan to build a wall along the nations border, AFP photographers decided to take a closer look. So they drove the drove the nearly 1,750 miles along the border and photographed what they saw, with Washington-based Jim Watson on the US side and Tijuana-based Guillermo Arias and Mexico City-based Yuri Cortez on the Mexican side. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Get ready for some really wacky wall ideas.
With as many as 400 companies expected to meet today’s deadline and turn in their proposals to build President Trump’s border wall, some of the ideas already floated are off the charts:
Think “Solar Panel Wall” and “Monorail Wall” and “Nuclear Waste Wall.”
These are just a few of the ideas being bandied about by wall-building companies and other concerns who’ve shown an interest in helping with Trump’s as-yet-unfunded $15 billion barrier. There have been as many as 700 bidders who’ve shown interest, though not all of them were expected to submit bids for the 2,000-mile-long wall by today’s deadline.
Here are a few things we know about the proposed wall and the bidding process now underway:
- One potential bidder asked if authorities would rush to help if workers came under “hostile attack” while another asked if employees can carry firearms and if the government would indemnify them for using deadly force.
- An unnamed U.S. official told AP that four to ten bidders are expected to be chosen to build prototypes, each of them erected on a roughly quarter-mile strip of federally owned land in San Diego within 120 feet of the border; the government anticipates spending $200,000 to $500,000 on each prototype.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that it would pick the prototype builders by around June 1 and will name only the winning bidders; the agency said last month that the prototypes should be about 30 feet long and 18-to-30-feet high.
- Since the actual construction is certain to stir tempers on both sides of the Great Wall Debate, the Border Patrol and local police would establish a buffer zone around the prototypes’ construction area if necessary; San Diego police and sheriff’s departments have said they would respect constitutional rights to free speech and assembly for any peaceful, law-abiding protesters.
- In response to security concerns raised by some bidders, officials said the Border Patrol would respond as needed in the event of a hostile attack on construction workers but added that the firms themselves would have to provide their own on-site security.
- The winning bidders must submit a security plan with details including “fallback positions, evacuation routines and methods, muster area, medical staff members/availability, number of security personnel, qualifications, years of experience, etc. in the event of a hostile attack,” according to the solicitation. A chain-link fence with barbed wire around the construction site is required.
- Bidders must have done border security or similar projects worth $25 million in the past five years to qualify.
- One of bidders who spoke with the San Diego Union-Tribune is proposing a “Memorial Wall,” which Drew Manatt of Iowa-based Manatts says could be subsidized by selling spots on the wall where people could leave memorials or family trees. Here’s the idea:
- A proposal from National Consulting Service based in National City south of San Diego would create a monorail line atop the wall and would use voice-recognition technology to analyze the emotional states of riders to help law enforcement spot trouble before it breaks out.
- Clayton Industries of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is suggesting a “Nuclear Waste Wall,” which would create a deterrent to border-jumpers by storing toxic byproducts in their path. The barrier would feature simply a chain fence adjacent to sensor panels and a 100-foot trench with the waste at the bottom. If an interloper from Mexico managed to get past all that, they would then have to scale a 30-foot wall.
- One of the more curious bids came from the Otra Nation, a collective of Mexican and American engineers, builders and planners. Their idea for the border, it seems, is not a wall but rather a conceptual way to encourage the two countries to get along better by doing things like turning San Diego-Tijuana into a “regenerative” zone with no barrier at all between the two nations. Oh yeah . . . their plan includes a $1-trillion hyperloop transporation system. Their pitch goes like this: “We propose the eradication of the entire US/Mexico border via a trans-national ’New Deal’ to create a shared co-nation called Otra Nation, built on local economic empowerment, energy independence and revolutionary infrastructure and transit.” And it would look like this: