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State seeks approval from Starr County land owners for more border wall

State seeks approval from Starr County land owners for more border wall
1 year 6 months 2 days ago Tuesday, January 17 2023 Jan 17, 2023 January 17, 2023 4:10 PM January 17, 2023 in News - Local

State builders are looking to Starr County to expand the Texas border wall. After largely completing the 1.7 mile long border wall on state-owned land, the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC), following a mandate from Governor Abbott and the legislature, will continue wall construction in that area.

The state has set aside $307 million for border wall projects in Starr and Val Verde Counties, said TFC Executive Director Mike Novak during an October commission meeting.

Land deals and easement requests are still underway. The state agency says it's been in talks with landowners across the border. As of last October, 36 land deals were complete or close to completion.

"Surveys, appraisals, right of entry agreements, offers, counteroffers,” Novak explained to commissioners. He said the rights process has been lengthy for TFC staff.

The existing state wall built in 2022 on Texas General Land office property now stands as a model of more wall investments to come. In November 2021, the commission awarded a maximum of $162 million to build the 1.7 mile segment.

Responding to questions about the cost per mile by Commissioner William Allensworth during January's meeting, staff said the state border wall will meet the same design specifications as the existing federal border wall.

"We're building a 30-foot wall. It's got an 8 to 12 foot concrete barrier," said a TFC staff member.

The Commission also approved a new 9.4 mile wall in Webb County this January, with a contract not to exceed $224 million awarded to Fisher Industries.

If all funds are used, the cost would be $24 million per mile.

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