Turtle Tunnel

By: Whitney Ray
By: Whitney Ray

Florida is receiving 13 billion federal stimulus dollars 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. The turtle tunnel has some taxpayers outraged.

US Highway 27 near Tallahassee is said to be the deadliest road in the world, that is for turtles. The highway divides two lakes. The turtles use one for nesting.

Dr. Matt Aresco is an environmentalist.

“Most of the road kills I find out here, they are not even pass this white line.”

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 federal stimulus dollars 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 lbs alligator with your car at night or have a turtle the size of a cinder block come through your windshield.”

The project has its critics. Pace Allen, a member of several anti-tax groups says the turtle tunnel is a waste of money.

“It’s outrageous, unbelievable, but I think there is a real opportunity for people to standup and say look at this example our governments, federal, state and local are totally out of control.”

“The turtle tunnel is just one of more than 520 road and bridge projects the state plans to spend build with stimulus dollars.”

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. This job is going to put people back to work and put food on their table.”

And the dish won’t be turtle soup.

The Turtle tunnel made the list of 100 questionable spending projects released by Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn. The list was sent submitted to the presidents’ office, which responded by calling the report “flawed.”


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