A Pentagon spokesperson has announced that the border wall is going up at the pace of about one mile per day—and rising.
Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, updated reporters on border wall construction progress during a Sept. 19 press briefing during which he said that by the end of next year, the goal was to have completed 450 miles.
“Right now we’re at a pace of about a mile a day. And we’ll see that continue to go up,” Hoffman said.
“It’s going to be a few months but our goal is that by the end of next year, we will have completed over 100—450 miles of wall construction all told across the entire federal government,” he said.
President Donald Trump traveled to the southwest earlier this week to review construction progress. Speaking at a press conference in San Diego on Wednesday, he said that the border wall “still, obviously, has a ways to go, but we’re building it at a breakneck speed.”
GREAT progress on the Border Wall! pic.twitter.com/TvOYxgsBSv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2019
“And we think we can get it close to 500 miles by the end of next year, depending on certain terrain conditions,” Trump added. “But we’re doing all of the most important areas. We have a lot of natural barriers, like mountains and streams and rivers and—some pretty vicious and violent rivers, actually. But it’s—it’s an amazing project.”
Army Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, told reporters on Wednesday that “66 miles today are already completed. There’s 251 miles that are under contract, going in the ground right now at 17 other sites.”
The general added that another 163 miles were on contracts that would be awarded in the next 90 days.
Hoffman said that nearly all of the $2.5 billion that had been earmarked for the border wall in February has been obligated and is now on contract.
“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.
He added that the $2.5 billion in question would go towards border construction projects in New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Hoffman said that a separate pot of funds—$3.6 billion that Defense Secretary Mark Esper transferred earlier this month from military construction—would also be used to build the wall.
“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,” Hoffman said.