The U.S. Government Accountability Office report, published Monday, found the agency overseeing the planning and construction of border barriers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has identified 17 priority areas for wall construction without doing a cost analysis for each area. The cost to construct 722 miles of barriers in those priority locations was estimated at $18 billion.
But costs vary widely depending on topography — increasing with the steepness of the terrain — and the price of land, especially in Texas, where most parcels along the border are privately held, the report states.
"Without assessing costs as part of the prioritization process, CBP does not have complete information to know whether it is prioritizing locations that will use its limited resources in the most cost-effective manner," the report said.
A Customs and Border Protection representative acknowledged Monday an Arizona Republic request for comment, but said the agency wouldn't provide a statement on the report until Tuesday.