So… how’s that border wall project coming? Thus far the truthful answer is that it’s not. But any project of that magnitude takes a long time to get into gear and when you add in the federal government procurement process you can multiply that figure by a significant measure. The Trump administration did, however, put out what’s known as a “pre-solicitation notice” on the appropriate government website and the response has thus far not been lacking in enthusiasm. Hundreds of different companies have expressed an interest in placing a bid to do the work. Perhaps most shockingly to those who look at virtually everything through a political lens, more than 100 of them are from California. (Los Angeles Times)
International engineering corporations, boutique architectural firms and tiny mom-and-pop builders with names like “Loko-Koko” are lining up to help build President Trump’s border wall, despite the fact that Mexico has said it won’t pay for it and polls show that many Americans don’t want it.
Since the Department of Homeland Security placed a presolicitation notice on the Federal Business Opportunities website in late February for “the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border Mexico,” more than 600 interested vendors from around the country have signed on, including almost 100 entities from California.
Kevin Rouhani of Meridian Precast Inc., a Westwood-based company that produces prefabricated walls and concrete panels and has worked on government infrastructure such as BART stations in the Bay Area, says he is keeping an eye on the specifications of the project to see if it might suit his company.
“Any big project in general that has some sort of potential, we’ll follow and see if it has anything for us,” said Kevin Rouhani.
Stepping back from the politics for a moment, this is just common sense. If Uncle Sam announces (even a bit prematurely) that a pool of billions of dollars is going to be coming available, people are going to be lining up for a piece of that action. But you can tell from the quotes offered by a few of the potential bidders in the linked article that they are already hedging their bets in preparation for some backlash. One project coordinator for Halbert Construction in El Cajon, California is quoted as saying, “we try not to bring our political beliefs into it.”
Yeah, good luck with that. If this were any other government infrastructure project under any other president this wouldn’t be a story worthy of making it onto the back page of most national newspapers. (Unless the cost was completely outrageous or there was some sort of corruption exposed in the bidding process.) But in this case there are a few magic buzzwords involved which immediately turn up the heat by several orders of magnitude. “Build the wall” was one of the most common chants heard at Trump rallies around the nation all through the campaign. This translated it into immediately becoming one of the most hated ideas among liberals, despite the fact that none of them would wish to be pressed on the subject of why they wouldn’t want to prevent intruders from illegally entering the country. It didn’t matter because “the wall” had become a symbol of all things Trump.
You don’t need a magic eight ball to predict what’s going to happen once the funds are put in place, contracts are awarded and construction begins. Liberal groups will be filling up buses with protesters from around the country heading for the border (with CNN cameras in tow) and preparing to put on the usual show. Whichever companies are fortunate enough to win this work will immediately become symbols of The Enemy and online petitions will be launched to boycott them and sink their business. (Never mind the fact that they will likely be creating new jobs and taking people off the unemployment line. Who cares about a little thing like that when there are political points to be scored?)
The companies based in California, should they be awarded any of the work, are probably the ones who have the most to fear. The left coast is a nexus for such well-funded disruption and resistance and they will probably be able to block entry to the doorways of such companies and make the lives of both the management and the employees a living hell. It’s not going to stop any progress from taking place but it will no doubt make them feel better and give the media something else to talk about.