Aug 13, 2008

Three Million Dollar Mile

When the House of Representatives first approved a border security bill, it was estimated that it would cost $2.2 billion. A Congressional Budget Office echoed that figure in May with an estimate of $3 million per mile -- $2.1 billion for 700 miles.

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. The little-noticed study the research service 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.

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