President-elect Joe Biden would save American taxpayers $2.6 billion if he stops Trump's border wall project on Jan 21 as promised, according to new estimates from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, the federal government would have to pay about $700 million to compensate contractors for stopping work.
Stopping the wall would also stop further destruction of some of the most spectacular wild places in the borderlands.
The Trump administration obtained about $15 billion for the barrier project, enough to complete 738 miles of new fencing, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Just about one-third of the $15 billion was provided by Congress through the standard appropriations process; Trump took the rest from Department of Defense counternarcotics programs and military construction accounts.
The U.S. Army Corps estimates show there will be about $3.3 billion in unused funds in the project's accounts on January 21. Army Corps officials have engaged in a series of meetings in recent weeks about how to end the contracts — and what can be done legally, and when.
While the Biden administration will have the ability to terminate or modify contracts with the construction firms building the barrier, those companies will be able to bill the government for "demobilization" fees that cover the withdrawal of crews, materials and equipment from the border. Those fees are projected to add up to about $700 million, according to the estimates.
Read the full report at the Washington Post: Biden order to halt border wall project would save U.S. $2.6 billion, Pentagon estimates show