Latest The Texas Tribune News
Jul 21, 2021
Published July 21, 2021 Dive Brief: Following Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's emergency declaration of an immigration crisis at the state's southern border, the Texas Facilities Commission is preparing to seek a project manager for his proposed border wall project. The commission is responsible for finding a project manager to oversee the construction of the wall and for maintenance of any completed projects, according to commission communications specialist Francoise Luca. She pointed to a continually updated timeline of the project and said that the solicitation hasn't yet been posted publicly but will be soon. Luca said that when the solicitation goes live, any firm could opt in to be considered for the project. CBS affiliate KENS5 reported last week that 1.5 miles of chain link fence has been installed on a ranch in Del Rio, Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Abbott's press office did not respond to inquiries about the project and Abbott has not specified how long the wall would be or where it would be built. Dive Insight: Abbott has said he will use the emergency declaration to fund and construct a border barrier in the state, which Luca said is the only thing unusual about the project compared to any other job the Facilities Commission undertakes. The commission said on its timeline that it would remain "transparent and compliant with state competitive bidding standards." Also unusual for such government projects is that it will be partly paid for via a crowdfunding campaign that asks citizens to donate money to the construction of the border wall. The Texas Tribune reported that the campaign received more than $459,000 in the week it was announced, on top of $250 million allocated by the state government for wall construction. One of the chief issues that the governor's office will contend with is that parcels of the land that will need to be used for the border wall are privately owned, which means that the government will have to acquire the land in some way. A lawsuit against the federal government filed by Texas landowners whose land was claimed through eminent domain is currently on hold, according to the Texas Tribune . In announcing the project during a June 15 press conference, Abbott was measured about the response he is hoping for from the public. The Texas Tribune reported that he expects Texas citizens to both give their money and their land for the border wall. "My belief based upon conversations that I've already had is that the combination of state land as well as volunteer land will yield hundreds of miles to build a border wall in Texas," he said.