A quarter of a billion dollars worth of steel for Trump's border wall is rusting away in the desert
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Joe Romero walks next to new bollard-style U.S.-Mexico border fencing in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, U.S., March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

According to an investigation by the Atlantic's John B. Washington, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of steel purchased by Donald Trump's administration to build his ill-fated border on the U.S.-Mexico border now sits rusting away in the desert with no concrete plans on what to do with it.

Building the wall was one of the key planks of Trump's run for the presidency in 2016, with the former president assuring his supporters that he would get Mexico to pay for it.

Instead, the federal government funded the project, with the Trump administration diverting Pentagon money to the project, claiming it was part of making America more secure.

After Trump lost his re-election bid in 2020, the incoming administration of President Joe Biden pulled the plug on the controversial relic of the Trump era, with workers pulled off the job and materials left behind.

READ MORE: Monsoon rain has torn apart Trump's border wall

With what was built falling into disrepair, Washington reports that expensive steel bollards that were purchased for the wall now sit under watch by officials as they rust, with one Republican saying the government is spending $3 million a day to guard the construction materials.

Writing that the "Department of Defense owns most of that steel," Washington said it is spread out along the border from Texas to San Diego, explaining "Along with the steel, contractors have left light poles, electrical supplies, crushed aggregate, processed riprap rock, sand, culvert materials, and piping—altogether worth about $350 million, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—sitting unused in the desert. The Corp wouldn’t itemize costs of materials, and anti-wall watchdogs (as well as some basic math) put the total number significantly higher."

"Although the unused light poles, rebar, and other material can probably be easily repurposed, the steel itself, mostly in the form of bollards, poses more of a problem. Just one site in New Mexico has about 31,000 bollards, according to calculations I made from aerial photographs. Another 20,000 bollards are spread across four sites in Arizona; a few thousand more sit in the chaparral hills outside San Diego," Washington reported adding that he consulted with an expert on the materials -- who didn't want to be identified, "but estimated that each bollard costs about $9,000, not including modifications (welding to steel panels and filling with rebar and concrete) or installation costs. If that number is close to accurate, about half a billion dollars worth of steel is sitting in the sun in New Mexico, Arizona, and California."

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