Nolan Rappaport forwarded this very interesting piece by ADRIENNE LAFRANCE in The Atlantic:
“The construction of a massive wall along the border of the United States and Mexico is one of President Donald Trump’s central campaign promises. And it’s a promise he intends to keep.
Within days of taking the oath of office in January, Trump began laying the groundwork for the construction of a series of walls and fences that would span some 1,250 miles along the border. On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo outlining its commitment to “begin planning, design, construction and maintenance of a wall” to deter and prevent illegal entry into the United States. The memo follows an executive order in which Trump called for the wall’s “immediate construction.”
But how immediately can Trump’s wall be built?
One of the latest estimates, from an internal Department of Homeland Security report obtained by Reuters, is that the wall will take three-and-a-half years to build. The agency is aiming to seal the border in three phases of construction of fences and walls, completing its work by the end of 2020, Reuters reported.
But that estimate is almost certainly too ambitious, and for a few reasons. First and foremost, there’s the fact that Congress still has to approve the bulk of the money for a project that is likely to cost tens of billions of dollars, according to several estimates.
Even if lawmakers approved that kind of cash this week, the wall almost certainly wouldn’t be complete by the end of Trump’s first term—or even a potential second term. The “iron law” of infrastructural megaprojects, according to a paper by Bent Flyvbjerg published in the Project Management Journal in 2014, is that they will go “over budget, over time, over and over again.”
This is obviously the case in projects where everything that can go wrong seemingly does (think: Boston’s infamous Big Dig highway project). But even for well-managed megaprojects, building major infrastructure always seems to take longer than estimates suggest. Sometimes that’s because a time estimate only pertains to the actual construction—not the time leading up to it, says Andrew Natsios, the director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University.”
Gotta ask the obvious question: Why not repair bridges and highways to somewhere rather than build a wall to nowhere?