The federal government has awarded a Galveston company more than $789 million to rebuild parts of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The contract, awarded by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, means SLSCO Ltd., stands to earn more than $1 billion total from work related to building fences and walls along the border.
The company, owned by Galveston natives Todd, John and Billy Sullivan, declined to comment, citing government restrictions.
“Due to the nature of the project, we direct all media to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol,” company spokeswoman Liz Rogers Alvarado said.
The contract was one of two totaling nearly $1 billion to replace short barriers meant to block vehicles with tall fences, federal officials said late Tuesday.
Barnard Construction Co., based in Montana, won the second contract for $187 million, officials said.
The companies also will install lights and improved roads along a 46-mile section near Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
The contracts are being paid for with money diverted from military projects when President Donald Trump on Feb. 15 declared a national emergency at the border.
It was unclear which projects lost funding to the border fence, but in March, the U.S. Department of Defense identified $13 billion in projects from which it could divert money.
Among them was an $8.4 million project to renovate the Marine Corps reserve building in Galveston.
SLSCO Ltd. has won at least three other border wall contracts totaling $459 million for projects in California, New Mexico and Texas, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
With the new contract, the company stands to earn at least $1.24 billion through border-related government projects.
As with the project announced Tuesday, the company is replacing existing barriers, rather than erecting new ones. Part of the work, however, entails replacing waist-high vehicle barriers with fences as much as 30 feet tall, according to government statements.
Work to replace vehicle barriers in New Mexico with taller bollard-style barriers, described as steel slat fencing, has been underway for more than a year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statements.
SLSCO’s New Mexico section of the wall is supposed to be completed by October 2020, according to the defense department.
The Sullivans have steadfastly declined to comment about their involvement in the border project, citing orders from the federal government.
In December, a small group of people picketed outside the company’s office on Broadway in Galveston. Protesters included members of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribal Nation, who said they worried wall construction would disturb burial sites and harm animal species.