Five firms remain on a short list to design and build southern border barriers in Texas, The Texas Tribune reported.
The list includes some businesses that came under question by the Trump administration for quality of work or impact on the environment with previous projects, the Tribune said Tuesday.
BFBC of Texas, Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., Posillico Civil Inc., SLSCO, and Southwest Valley Constructors Co. are being interviewed by the Texas Facilities Commission, which oversees the awarding of contracts.
All five companies previously were awarded federal border wall contracts or had been considered for such under the Trump administration.
GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced in June a crowdfunding effort to pay for the wall and other barriers such as fencing. Abbott pledged $250 million in state money to start the project.
The Texas Senate approved House Bill 9 in September to allocate $1.88 billion toward border security, a move that nearly tripled state spending after already approving $1.05 billion earlier this year.
Although such projects normally are considered the federal government's responsibility, President Joe Biden stopped funding for former President Donald Trump's border wall.
A Texas Facilities Commission spokesperson said there was no timetable by which the agency will decide what firms will win contracts.
The commission awarded an $11 million contract to Michael Baker International Inc., and Huitt-Zollars in September to oversee construction of a barrier along the border. The two companies will manage budgets, identify state land for wall construction, and find "willing private landowners to facilitate construction," according to the proposal.
North Dakota-based Fisher Sand & Gravel was hired by We Build the Wall — a nonprofit that crowdfunded private donations and listed former Trump adviser Steve Bannon as a board member — to build a three-mile long wall at a cost of $45 million at the edge of the Rio Grande in 2020.
The company's wall, however, was found to show signs of runoff erosion that, if not fixed, could cause the wall to fall into the Rio Grande, a Texas Tribune/ProPublica investigation found last year.
New Mexico-based Southwest Valley Constructors Co., an affiliate of Kiewit Corp., was awarded at least $2.7 billion in contracts for border barriers in Arizona and Texas by the Trump administration.
The company's work was determined to cause groundwater levels to plunge at a wildlife refuge in Southern Arizona, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials.
Montana-based BFBC of Texas, a subsidiary of Barnard Construction, came under scrutiny after a $142 million federal contract it was awarded in May 2019 to replace Arizona barriers ballooned to $569 million.
Texas-based SLSCO, which won $2.2 billion worth of border wall contracts during the Trump administration, had a section of fencing it built in California blow over during construction. High winds before concrete had dried were to blame.
The Trump administration built about 80 miles of new barriers on the nearly 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border. That included 21 miles in Texas.
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