Construction of Texas-Mexico border wall could begin soon

Here's what we know

Construction is expected to begin soon on a 1.7-mile portion of the Texas border wall.

The border wall is part of the initiative announced by Gov. Greg Abbott in June.

Abbott tasked the Texas Facilities Commission with bringing a state border wall to fruition.

During a Nov. 18 TFC meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a design-build contract that will not exceed $162 million for a total of eight miles of border wall that will fill gaps between portions of the federal border wall.

The contract was awarded to Posillico Civil, Inc., a 75-year-old New York-based engineering firm that has worked on other border projects.

Commissioners said the first portion of the wall will be constructed on state-owned land in Starr County, with a 1.2-mile extension on private land.

Commissioners said the program manager, Michael Baker Huitt-Zollars Joint Venture, is pursuing agreements with private landowners to allow construction of other portions of the wall.

A specific groundbreaking date for the first segment of the wall has not yet been announced, but during the November TFC meeting, a Posillico representative told commissioners the company understands “the importance of getting panels erected by the end of the year, and we’re certainly committed to making that happen.”

In June, Gov. Abbott announced $250 million from TDCJ’s budget was being transferred to fund this initiative, along with a request for donations from the public. According to records from the governor’s office, the state has received $54,423,681 in private donations. More than $53 million was donated by Wyoming billionaire Timothy Mellon, the grandson of former US Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon.

The Governor’s Office announced he will hold a news conference on Saturday, Dec. 18, in Rio Grande City to discuss construction of the state’s border wall.