BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota company that has long claimed it can build a U.S.-Mexico border wall cheaper and faster than competitors has been awarded a contract to construct 31 miles of new wall in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma County, Arizona.
The company has pursued government contracts to work on the wall since at least 2017, when it built a prototype along with five other companies for the Army Corps of Engineers’ consideration. U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, both R-N.D., announced Monday, Dec. 2, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (that has said the prototype does not meet bid requirements) awarded Fisher Sand and Gravel the nearly $400 million contract to design and build 31 miles of physical barriers along the border.
In a news release, Cramer, who received a $10,000 campaign donation from Fisher – said, “I am glad to see more progress being made to secure the southern border, and I am grateful to see a good North Dakota company like Fisher Industries getting some of the work. I know they will do very well, performing high quality work at a good bargain, all for the security of the people of the United States.”
Company President Tommy Fisher is a GOP supporter and made several appearances on Fox News, boasting that he could build the wall, faster, better and cheaper than anyone else.
Two administration officials familiar with the matter told The Associated Press earlier this year that Trump did indeed intervene on Fisher’s behalf, aggressively pushing his company’s bid to the heads of Homeland Security and the Army Corps of Engineers, which manages wall contracts. The interference in federal contracting by a president concerned some overseeing the process but the officials said, Trump insisted Fisher could get the wall up faster and cheaper than other bidders.
The work has an estimated completion date of Dec. 30, 2020. The Army solicited five bids for the job and received three, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Fisher previously filed a lawsuit in April alleging a separate $800 million contract for border wall construction was unfairly awarded to another company. A judge ruled against Fisher and the case was terminated in May.
President Donald Trump made building a U.S.-Mexico border wall a priority during the 2016 campaign. The administration has rebuilt approximately 78 miles of already existing southern barriers but has yet to break new ground with additional miles of wall.