January 22nd, 2007


Price for border fence up to $49 billion


Study: Price for border fence up to $49 billion Study says fence cost could reach $49 billion
Lawmakers' estimate falls far short of total, research service says
- Tyche Hendricks, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, January 8, 2007

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The cost of building and maintaining a double set of steel fences along 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border could be five to 25 times greater than congressional leaders forecast last year, or as much as $49 billion over the expected 25-year life span of the fence, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

A little-noticed study the research service released in December notes that even the $49 billion does not include the expense of acquiring private land along hundreds of miles of border or the cost of labor if the job is done by private contractors -- both of which could drive the price billions of dollars higher.

The Congressional Research Service also questioned the effectiveness of a fence in preventing people from crossing the border illegally, especially if it does not span the entire 1,952-mile border. Secure fencing of some kind already exists along 106 miles of border, mostly in short stretches around cities.

The findings did not deter Congressional backers of the border fence, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-San Diego, the fence's principal proponent.
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