[Trump’s] determination to have the steel bollards coated in black has fluctuated during the past several years, and military commanders and border officials believed as recently as last fall that they had finally talked him out of it. They consider the black paint unnecessary, costly and a significant long-term maintenance burden, and they left it out of the original U.S. Customs and Border Protection design specifications.
Trump has not let go of the idea, insisting that the dark color will enhance its forbidding appearance and leave the steel too hot to touch during summer months.
…The Post obtained a copy of painting estimates that federal contracting officials produced, and it shows costs ranging from $500 million for two coats of acrylic paint to more than $3 billion for a premium “powder coating” on the structure’s 30-foot steel bollards, the high end of the options the officials have identified.
…The White House has obtained about $15 billion for the project so far, two-thirds of which has been diverted from Defense Department construction funds and counternarcotics programs. CBP projections indicate the money will pay for approximately 731 miles of new barriers, but those estimates did not take into account the president’s painting plans.
…One official with knowledge of the plans said it wasn’t clear how the painting crews would operate on the Mexico side of the barrier, where only a narrow strip of land separates the two countries. Painters would potentially need to apply the black coating using a specialized boom long enough to extend up and over the barrier from the U.S. side.
…Last year, after Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) heavily promoted Fisher to the president as a cheaper option for building the border wall, Trump urged aides to give the firm a building contract. The North Dakota company and its owner have donated to Cramer and the president, and the company sued the government when its border wall bids were not accepted.