The Trump administration is putting up about a mile of border wall per day with a goal of reaching 450 miles by the end of next year, according to the Pentagon.
“Right now we’re at a pace of about a mile a day. And we’ll see that continue to go up,” said Pentagon Chief Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman during a press briefing Thursday.
President Trump traveled to the southwest earlier this week to view progress on the border wall.
“Now, the wall still, obviously, has a ways to go, but we’re building it at a breakneck speed,” he said Wednesday in San Diego during a press conference.
GREAT progress on the Border Wall! pic.twitter.com/TvOYxgsBSv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2019
Hoffman also announced Thursday that nearly all of the $2.5 billion military counter-drug money that was allocated to the border wall in February has been obligated and is now on contract, and that the rest of that money, $3 million, would be obligated next week. That $2.5 billion will go towards border projects in New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
“That is going to build 129 miles of wall — all of that money is on contract as of — I think there’s $3 million left — and that’ll be by the end of next week. All of that money is on contract,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman also confirmed that the Pentagon is making progress on border projects with another pot of money — the $3.6 billion that Defense Secretary Mark Esper transferred from military construction to the border wall earlier this month.
He said the Department of Interior (DOI) recently transferred about 650 acres of land, or 70 miles of border, to the Army, so that the Army Corps of Engineers can start building another 175 miles of border wall.
“Right now we’re getting the first of those contracts ready to go…we have property from DOI that needed to be transferred over for a number of those so we got to work through that process, and it’s going to take months to get that,” he said.
“But our goal is that by the end of next year, we will have completed over 450 miles of wall construction all-told, across the federal government,” he said.
Hoffman said he expected the pace of building to increase over time.
“What you’re going to see is … it’ll take a little awhile, as we do the planning, we buy the property, we do the environmental assessment, and all the other things and assessments that we need to do, and you’ll see a rapid increase in the amount,” he said.
On Wednesday, Army Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, gave an update on the border projects overall.
“Sixty-six miles today are already completed. There’s 251 miles that are under contract, going in the ground right now at 17 other sites,” he said at the press conference on Wednesday with Trump.
“There’s 163 miles that are actually on contracts that are going to be [awarded] in the next 90 days,” he said. “The remainder of the miles the President talked about is mainly private land that takes a little bit longer to get.”