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San Diego Companies Wait To Bid On Trump’s Border Wall

The border fence between San Diego and Tijuana is pictured, Sept. 19, 2016.

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: The border fence between San Diego and Tijuana is pictured, Sept. 19, 2016.

At least three San Diego companies plan to bid on President Trump's border wall when the Department of Homeland Security issues a formal request for proposals.

The government published a preliminary notice of the request on Feb. 24 and said it would make its official, detailed request on Monday, later updated to Wednesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, the 200 interested companies nationally are still waiting.

The preliminary notice asked for a concrete wall that was "30 feet tall, that will meet requirements for aesthetics, anti-climbing, and resistance to tampering or damage."

The Department of Homeland Security is expected to request design and build proposals for the U.S.-Mexico border wall any minute now.

One of the San Diego-based companies hoping to bid on the wall is R.E. Staite Engineering, Inc., a small engineering firm on the San Diego bay right next to the naval base and NASSCO.

It has led major construction and environmental restoration projects along the Pacific seaboard since 1938, from Alaska to Panama in Central America. It built the nuclear carrier wharves on the San Diego bay, helped clean the ocean after the Exxon Valdez oil spill and has dredged channels in the sea and the desert.

"We're attracted to very complex, difficult projects in harsh environments — that's what we do best," said Ralph Hicks, vice president of governmental affairs for R.E. Staite Engineering.

He said the company believes in border security but isn't politically motivated.

"We're focused on the work, we're not a political body, left or right or what have you," he said. "We go after the job and provide high-paying jobs for our workforce and great opportunities for our company."

Currently, about 700 miles of fencing exist along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, with gaps in between due to geographical obstacles. Hicks said his company would be able to overcome those obstacles and seal off the entire land border.

Companies have less than two weeks to submit preliminary proposals. A select few will then have about a month to file full proposals. Hicks said he's not worried about the short time frame.

"It's quick, but that's okay, that's the whole advantage that we have — we're not a big mega bureaucracy," he said.

The company has about 50 employees and $30-million in equipment, with the capacity to scale up quickly for massive projects by hiring more workers. He said its location in San Diego means it is familiar with the difficult border terrain and can work around it while preserving environmentally sensitive areas.

Another San Diego-based company interested in bidding is AC Lopez Construction, Inc., which has worked almost exclusively on federal government projects, including port of entry infrastructure.

The company's senior project manager, James Ballow, said the company doesn't have political leanings and that the short time frame for submitting proposals is "not uncommon."

The San Diego-based building services company vScenario is also interested in helping build the wall by offering technology applications, building management expertise and more.

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