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Politics

Arizona's Border Fence Campaign Raises $200,000 In A Month

A page from the buildtheborderfence.com website that accepts funds for a private barrier in Arizona.
Photo courtesy buildtheborderfence.com.
A page from the buildtheborderfence.com website that accepts funds for a private barrier in Arizona.
Arizona Fence Fundraising
Arizona Fence Fundraising

Arizona lawmaker Steve Smith says he's raised about $200,000 in the first month of his web-fundraising campaign, headquartered at buildtheborderfence.com. Using the latest construction estimates from the Government Accountability Office, this means Smith could right now build about 270 feet along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The site's grassroots approach appears to have struck a national chord - Smith told Fox News Host Greta Van Sustern Thursday that it's received donations from people in all 50 states, plus U.S. military bases from around the world. Still, his campaign has a long way to go.

On her show, On The Record, Van Sustern asked Smith: "Do you have any clue what it costs even a mile to build a fence, any idea?"

"You'll hear estimates out there," he replied. "The Government Accountability Office puts it at $400,000 and up."

Up is right. Rich Stana, with the GAO, says that in 2007, the basic pedestrian fence cost about $2.8 million per mile. "And in 2008, it was increased to about $3.9 million per mile," Stana said.

He also noted that these figures did not include maintenance, of which costs can be "substantial." In 2009, the GAO reported there had been 3,400 breaches in the fence, to date, costing approximately $4.4 million to repair.

Smith is determined to cut costs by using inmate labor, and forging corporate partnerships. On Thursday, he told FOX viewers that one of the world's largest fencing companies, Betafence, based in Belgium, has pledged to build “several miles” of border fence, in kind.

What questions do you have about the Statewide General Election coming up on Nov. 8? Submit your questions here, and we'll try to answer them in our reporting.