The deadline to submit proposals for the wall was Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, and many of the biggest construction and engineering companies are steering clear of bidding for the project altogether.
Several companies who otherwise possess the resources and experience to manage and deliver such a large and complex project are staying away from it largely due to concerns about political backlash, according to Dave Raymond, President and CEO of the American Council on Engineering Companies. He told CNN, “in my lifetime, I can’t think of a similar experience.”
One senior official from a construction firm told CNN via email that “there are many hurdles associated with the wall, ranging from political ones to financing to the very real human aspect.
There are also concerns about how working on the wall would affect a construction company’s ability to work in other countries, given that the Trump plan has received a great deal of international criticism.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the three largest recipients of federal government contracts, as ranked by the Engineering News-Record’s most recent Top 400 Contractors list — Bechtel, Fluor Corp., and Turner Corp. (no relation to CNN parent company Turner Broadcasting) are not listed as interested vendors for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s two requests for proposals (RFPs) that closed Tuesday at 4 p.m.
When asked about their respective plans, Bechtel previously noted that it has not expressed interest in the wall, Fluor told CNN it “does not publicly discuss whether or not the company is pursuing or will pursue specific contract opportunities,” and Turner told CNN it would not be pursuing the project, saying they are focused on other projects such as building stadiums and airports.
In fact, only three of the top 20 ranked contractors were listed as interested vendors on those RFPs. More than 200 companies have expressed interest in each RFP.
Some firms are worried about potentially losing future business with the nation’s largest cities and states, according to Raymond, whose organization represents more than 5,000 engineering firms throughout the country.
State lawmakers in both California and New York have introduced bills that would effectively blacklist any company involved in building the border wall from future state business. Neither of the bills has passed into law, but the possibility alone has turned off many potential bidders.