On a practical level, the border wall that Trump wants to build is, to be generous, excessively ambitious. While Trump has outwardly revealed a price tag of $8 billion, which is an optimistic number for any government infrastructure project, the Department of Homeland Security refuses to commit to any price tag at all and doesn’t seem sure how to build it. Still, bids are due today, and some contractors, either for publicity or in the hopes of getting a leg up, have made their plans public, some of which might beggar belief.
The ideas range from the relatively practical, like covering the wall with solar panels to power Border Patrol stations and crossing infrastructure, to more fanciful ideas. One wants to build a much broader and taller wall to give American tourists a place to stand and admire the view, yes, just like a tourist attraction. Whereas a Pittsburgh company has plans to store nuclear waste in the wall like a “booby trap,” which is probably illegal. Still another wants to have the wall pay for itself by letting people buy space to carve loved ones’ names on it.
Of course, for any of this to happen, Congress must first provide the Trump administration with the money, and it’s not clear how much of an appetite Congress has for a wall that civil engineers estimate will cost tens of billions to put up, let alone billions more to maintain. Congress is expected to debate the budget for much of April.