“We’re Going to Build a Wall and Mexico is Going to Pay for It” – Not So, You are Going to Pay for It.

The immediate construction of a physical wall between Mexico and America was authorized by Presidential Executive Order on January 25, 2017, but there is no provision for funding from Mexico.  The President is asking congress for $4.1 billion through next year to begin construction of a wall, a project that may cost as much as $25 billion, plus annual repairs.

A sea to sea barrier would require control of land along 2,000 miles.  This means that much land would have to be acquired by eminent domain.  As part of the initial budget request, there is the plan to hire 20 attorneys to obtain the land.  Who says there is no demand for condemnation lawyers?  Bear in mind that our President has always been a fan of eminent domain, “Eminent Domain is an absolute necessity.”  In the past, Mr. Trump has had local government utilize the power to assist in his development projects, particularly in Atlantic City.

According to an article published in the Washington Post on March 21, 2017 by Tracy Jan:

  Much of the border, especially in Texas, snakes through farms, ranches, orchards, golf courses and other private property dating to centuries-old Spanish land grants.  As a signpost to the possible troubles ahead, the government has not finished the process from the last such undertaking a decade ago.

          “It’s going to be time consuming and costly,” said Tony Martinez, an attorney who is mayor of the border town of Brownsville, Texas.  “From a political perspective, you have a lot of rich landowners who were his supporters.”

Ms. Jan continues:

Researchers and lawyers say eminent domain will continue to be a big issue for Trump, one that could stymie his ambitious plans for an “impenetrable” wall.

          “It will be a huge challenge for his administration.  It will clog up the courts,” said Terence Garrett, a security studies and public professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Brownsville.  “It’s just an affront to property rights.”

  The university became embroiled in a land dispute in 2007 when the federal government sought to build an 18-foot-high wall that would have divided the campus in two.  Students would have had to obtain land-crossing cards to go back and forth across campus, even though they were still in the United States, Garrett said.

Meanwhile, important projects are being cancelled to enable this campaign promise.  The current rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York, with its two tubes, one in, one out, is in very bad condition.  The tunnel is old and was severely damaged by Super Storm Sandy.

This vital link to New York City was to be part of the Gateway project which will add another tunnel with two new tubes.  The cost estimate is $20 billion, to be split evenly between New York and New Jersey and the other half by the federal government.  The Trump budget plan for 2018 cancelled out all federal funding for the tunnel.  This project was considered as one of the most important infrastructure projects in the Country.  Let’s hope congress puts the project back in the budget.

Posted in Eminent Domain, Gateway Project, Uncategorized, Walls
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