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Alaskans Receive Most Federal Dollars per Capita of All States P, WERE ALL SET FOR ANOTHER MONTH OF RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM AND SELF-RELIANCE OUT HERE ON AMERICA’S LAST FRONTIER. DID OUR GOVERNMENT CHECK COME? 411 -/N47-1GC42.- Alr OLT OF HAPPINESS _ _ GROWNUP GIFTS FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES AUSTIN NORTH SOUTH RESEARCH E. RIVERSIDE SIZSAR EEY 832-8544 443-2292 502-9323 441-5555 707-9069 NEW STORE!! SAN MARCOS 512 392-4596 NEW STORE EAST CENTRAL EVERS MILITARY WEST AVE 654-8536 822-7767 521-5213 333-3043 525-0708 NEW STORE! IN AUSTIN CESAR CHAVEZ 3111 E. CESAR CHAVE1 \(fast of Pleesont Wiry al tilleryl 247-2222 needs another $400 million to finish 326 miles of fencemuch of it in Texasby December 31. At the same time, a number of Texas landowner lawsuits challenging the agency’s condemnation proceedings are pending in federal court, Ahern said. “The Texas-Mexico border construction is largely out of our control: he told the committee. “There have been a lot of unique challenges because it is privately owned land.” If the lawsuits are not resolved by September 30, it won’t be possible to meet the December 31 deadline mandated by the Secure Fence Act passed in 2006. Come 2009, the project becomes the next president’s problem. Auditors from the Government Accountability Office told committee members that construction costs for the fence have doubled because of rising fuel, steel, and labor prices. The cost to build a mile of 18-foot, steel fence is now $7.5 milliondouble what DHS estimated in February 2008. Ahern told the committee that the agency has instructed Boeing Co. to cease construction of the “virtual” sections of the fence; the agency wants to use that funding to build out the remaining miles of border wall. Boeing had once planned to deploy the virtual fence, comprising sensors and surveillance equipment, along the country’s northern and southern borders. Plagued by technological glitches and cost overruns, however, Boeing scaled back the project to pilot studies in Arizona. The company has already been paid $933 million in public fundsmost of it spent developing and installing the virtual fence technology, according to the GAO. Homeland Security submitted a request September 9 asking Congress to OK a plan to redirect funding from the troubled virtual fence project, Border Patrol agent recruitment, and port and border screening improvements to finish the border wall. An appropriations bill to give Homeland Security additional funding is also languishing in Congress. SEPTEMBER 19, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5