- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 26, 2017

The first phase of President Trump’s border wall is back on track after the Government Accountability Office dismissed contract protests that were holding construction of prototypes, officials said late Friday.

“This means that we are now able to award contracts as soon as we are ready. We therefore expect to make awards soon,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency overseeing wall construction, said in a statement.

CBP earlier this year had asked for designs for the wall, and narrowed down the choices to fewer than 20, covering both concrete and non-concrete versions. The agency will eventually pick four to eight final designs and award companies money to build prototypes in San Diego.

The prototypes will be subject to testing, with the goal of creating a new “design standard” for future construction.

Before the protests were dismissed, CBP was anticipating construction in October or November.

That schedule could now be pushed forward again, though, CBP said other bid protests could arise in the awarding phase.

CBO sought designs of walls up to 50 feet in height, that could withstand breach attempts for as long as four hours.

The wall was one of Mr. Trump’s most prominent campaign promises, though it has proved to be controversial.

CBP already has $20 million in the pipeline to build the prototypes, but does not have funding to begin actual construction of new fencing.

Mr. Trump has said he is willing to face a government shutdown to get additional money, while congressional Democrats, who oppose the wall, have also signaled they are willing to shut down the government rather than fund the wall.

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