Based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report seen by Reuters late last week, the barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border would cost as much as $21.6 billion and take more than three years to build. Earlier estimates in January were around $12-15 billion.
In a report expected to be presented to DHS, the plans for the wall would extend about 1,250 miles and be constructed in three phases by the end of 2020.
While 654 miles are already fortified, the new plan would extend almost the length of the entire border between the two countries.
Reuters says the report it has seen is by a group commissioned by DHS Secretary John Kelly as a final step before moving forward with requesting U.S. taxpayer funds from Congress and getting started on construction.
One reason the Kelly estimate is 80-percent higher than the figures given in January is the cost of acquiring private land along the route. Legal barriers can, and probably will, take time and money, even with the use of eminent domain. Costs of materials, mainly steel, will be another variable, as will environmental waivers required by the International Boundary and Water Commission, a U.S.-Mexico pact over shared waters. Reuters says those international waivers could add up to $15 million per mile is some areas.
On a similar note, Roger Waters is said to be contemplating performing Pink Floyd's classic 1979 "The Wall" somewhere along the border. Waters is touring the U.S. this summer and will be near LA in June.