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$3.4 Million of Federal Stimulus Money to Pay for Turtle Tunnel
Florida is receiving $13 billion in federal stimulus money to build roads, feed seniors and save jobs.
But $3.4 million of Florida’s cut is going to build a tunnel to help turtles cross a busy highway, and this turtle tunnel has some taxpayers outraged, according to the Capitol News Service.
The turtle tunnel made a list of 100 questionable spending projects released by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. The list was submitted to the president's office, which responded by calling the report “flawed.”
U.S. Highway 27 near Tallahassee is said to be the deadliest road in the world for turtles. The highway divides two lakes, and the turtles use one for nesting.
Dr. Matt Aresco has been on a 10-year mission to help the turtles cross the road. His hard work will pay off this September when $3.4 million will be spent to build a tunnel under the highway.
“Even if you are not in favor of wildlife conservation, which a major part of this project is, would you want to hit a 400-pound alligator with your car at night or have a turtle the size of a cinder block come through your windshield?” Aresco asked.
Pace Allen, a member of several anti-tax groups, said the turtle tunnel is a waste of money.
“It’s outrageous, unbelievable, but I think there is a real opportunity for people to stand up and say, 'Look at this example. Our governments, federal, state and local, are totally out of control," Allen said.
The turtle tunnel is just one of more than 520 road and bridge projects the state plans to pay for with stimulus dollars, according to the news service.
Leon County Commissioner Cliff Thaell says the project will create jobs.
“We have a lot of people hungry for work and ready to earn a living," Thaell said. "This job is going to put people back to work and put food on their table.”
And the dish won’t be turtle soup.
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