Economics

Turtle Crossing Stimulus Project Not Shovel Ready. As a Result, Many Turtles Are.

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stimulating

The office of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) released a report [PDF] today highlighting 100 questionable projects in the stimulus bill.

My personal favorite, largely for the metaphor potential regarding the rate of stimulus spending, is number five: a turtle crossing in Florida. The "eco-passage" is an oldie but a goodie, this one clocking in at $3.4 million and counting in stimulus funds. Here's a fun fact from the report:

The area has the highest road-kill mortality rate for turtles in the world.

But unlike many a neglected pet turtle, the project isn't even "shovel ready." It's still in the design phase, according to Coburn's report. So stimulus or no, the turtle genocide continues.

Reason has been all over another one of Coburn's top ten—the John Murtha-Johnstown Cambria County Airport.

Read the whole thing here [PDF].

NEXT: "In the beginning sperm came from men"

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  1. “When a local columnist described this project to a friend, they said that, “FSU (Florida State University) is talking about laying off 200 people and we’re protecting turtles?””

    Kind of a stupid comparison. They’re not giving the money to turtles, they’re giving it to people to build something to protect the turtles. Perhaps it’s unnecessary, but I assure you that universities in Florida have plenty of superfluous people. We call them administrators. Of course, I’m sure those aren’t the ones being laid off.

  2. I’m familiar with these “turtles”. They are really gopher tortoises. They are considered a protected species and they do tend to travel quite a bit. Realy exciting to come up on one on a bicycle. I just don’t know how they are going to get them to use a bridge unless that includes a very long wall along each side of the road for miles.

  3. the crossing is an underpass/ culvert, not a bridge

  4. Ok, yeah I should have checked the pdf first, thanks. I still think those gophers, deer, gators and other critters will still climb that embankment.

  5. I hate to see a crushed turtle in the road. I have recently taken to stopping and helping any turtle I see (that is not likely to remove any body parts from me) to cross the road.

  6. Wade – you’re right, they might, so a lot of fencing might be necessary

    Zeb – snapping turtles can be carefully picked up by the tail and softshell turtles by the hind shell near the hind legs to avoid a bite – both types have long necks and extremely painful bites

    the softshells might scratch you a bit, though

  7. Come on, Zeb! Won’t you sacrifice a few fingers to help out a snapper?

  8. What a worthless project. I think we’d all just be better off if the 787 billion was just passed out to all American citizens or something like that. Of course I’d rather it not be spent at all, but if its going to be then I want my millions.

  9. Turtles and “wooly” worms are smarter than most people. I’ve observed that both turtles and “wooly” worms cross the road at 90 degree angle to the paved area reducing their exposure to traffic. Humans on the other hand are fucking retarded and do not cross perpendicular to the road. In fact some revel in the fact they are crossing slowly and at an angle taunting 3000 pound machines moving at speeds upwards of 35 miles per hour. I’ll gladly spend money to save the turtles, shovel ready or not. I will also spend money to solve the latter problem, but fear litigation.

  10. PUT THE TURTLE DOWN AND STEP AWAY FROM THE SANDBOX.

  11. What the fuck kind of crossings do they need? Paved, lighted, with rest stops? It’s a couple of fucking tunnels under a couple of fucking roads.

    Perhaps if the government would stop giving low-cost insurance to hurricane-prone areas, the turtles would already have safe places to walk/crawl.

  12. Q. Why did the turtle cross the road?
    A. _________________________________________________

    Please forgive me.

  13. J sub D – they were playing chicken?

  14. Great headline!
    What we need is a Federal “No Turtle Left Behind” program to teach the little reptiles how to read “turtle crossing” signs. After billions spent, and no sign of fewer mashed turtles, then we have no other choice except to appoint a Turtle Czar!

  15. God told me it’s a sin to pay good money on helping turtles when we need it to fight the scourge of lesbianism in our Oklahoma City schools…

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=tom%20coburn

  16. The bear crossing they built on State Road 46 northwest of Orlando a few years ago is basically a culvert with a few miles of fencing each way on both sides of the road. The main problem has been that there seem to be a fair number of bears making the wrong turn when they get to the fence and just going around the end. The odd one then makes the wrong turn again and gets trapped between the fences.

    I’m not sure how it’s affected the bear mortality but some engineers have complained that the money for the project was taken from some safety improvements at intersections in Orlando where humans are still getting killed.

    I have a soft spot for bears and other wildlife, which I turn off during hunting season, and I’d rather not see them mooshed in traffic. But I kinda feel the same way about humans and there’s never an open season on them. Tourist season season does not mean you’re allowed to shoot them.

  17. “Tourist season season does not mean you’re allowed to shoot them.”

    that’s news to me

  18. I witnessed a talking-retard on The TV this morning who claimed that a turtle hitting your windshield at 70 mph wouldn’t be very funny, so please fund this worthy endeavor.

  19. Dang, watch out for them flying turtles there, buddy.

  20. I eagerly await the Family Flying Turtle Avoidance Act.
    You know somebody is working on it.

  21. the innominate one

    I saw that one on a bumper sticker on an old pickup* on I-4 one evening. Laughed my ass off.

    Mind you, it was kind of sick too. It wasn’t long after the rash of shootings involving
    european tourist who had been identified by the letter Z in the tag on their rental cars.

    *The kind that’d have a gunrack with a couple of rifles in it out west. That’s the one thing I miss about not living in Utah anymore.

    Of course, my alternate response to you could be:

    Oh, you got your bag limit this year then? 😉

  22. Just install some anti air-turtle guns…it is for the children after all.

  23. What kind of shot do you use for a turtle? I don’t see bird shot doing a whole lot of good and 00 won’t leave too much and decrease accuracy.

  24. “I’m not sure how it’s affected the bear mortality but some engineers have complained that the money for the project was taken from some safety improvements at intersections in Orlando where humans are still getting killed.”

    Yeah, but there are lots more humans.

  25. “”When a local columnist described this project to a friend, they said that, “FSU (Florida State University) is talking about laying off 200 people and we’re protecting turtles?”””

    That’s a no-win situation. Republicans don’t believe in higher education, *or* preserving wildlife.

  26. Yeah, but there are lots more humans that need killing.

    fixed

    and on another DHS list in one fell swoop

  27. you dont help a softshell across the road, you help him to your kitchen, MMMM Turtle soup. snappers are best, but i like me fingers, lol

  28. One of the upshots of improved bear migration in Central Fla has been the encroachment of bears into NW suburban Orlando (West Seminole County). Also an upshot of increased populations due to their endangered status.

    So far they just raid garbage cans and the like but watch out when one of them eats some security mom’s baby.

    Bears don’t eat babies, you say? That’s what they said about dingoes.

  29. Glad to see “shovel ready” finally used correctly in connection with the stimulus.

  30. We need to save the cooter!!

  31. this one clocking in at $3.4 million

    the crossing is an underpass/ culvert, not a bridge

    It costs $3.4 million to build a culvert under a road? Damn I’m in the wrong business. Obviously being a politically well-connected construction company is the way to go.

  32. Brian – yep

  33. The project involves 4 under-highway passages and a mile long wall on each side of the highway. The picture of the culvert in Coburn’s report has nothing to do with the project. It’s some random image he found on the internet. Check out the web site to read more http://www.lakejacksonturtles.org about what is really planned after 9 years of study. And the project was shovel ready, despite Coburn’s assertion. It was approved by the county, the state, and the feds.

  34. Despite Bob Jones’ assertion, the project is not “shovel-ready,” if that word means anything. It’s still in design phase. Read the Tallahassee Democrat article linked from his link.

  35. Hey man, engineers need to be stimulated too.

  36. Bob Jones | June 16, 2009, 8:54pm | #
    The project involves 4 under-highway passages and a mile long wall on each side of the highway. The picture of the culvert in Coburn’s report has nothing to do with the project. It’s some random image he found on the internet. Check out the web site to read more http://www.lakejacksonturtles.org about what is really planned after 9 years of study. And the project was shovel ready, despite Coburn’s assertion. It was approved by the county, the state, and the feds.

    Bob, thanks for the information regarding this worthy project. IT also proves that Coburn is a simply a liar and should be ignored. He obviously could have gotten images from the project website that would have truly represented what would be built. Instead, he grabbed some random, obviously mis-leading picture from the internet.

    Shame on him, and shame on anyone who takes his opinion even halfway seriously.

  37. Shame on him, and shame on anyone who takes his opinion even halfway seriously.

    Ah, Chad, if that isn’t a ringing endorsement of Dr Coburn, I don’t know what is.

    I am sure it wouldn’t surprise you a bit to learn that I voted for the good doctor, and will do so again.

    Is there no limit to the amount of money that the Leftarded will piss away? We are placing our grandchildren in debt to build multi-million dollar tunnels for fucking turtles? And thinking this is a waste of money is something that shouldn’t be taken seriously? How can anyone take people who will spend unlimited amounts of other people’s seriously?

    Let me suggest outdoor kitchens so that the homeless can intercept and eat them before they reach the road. Two birds with one stone.

  38. should read other people’s money

  39. I think Coburn’s constant bitching about the stimulus is an act, considering he voted for the damn thing.

  40. Marshall Gill | June 17, 2009, 10:34am | #

    I am sure it wouldn’t surprise you a bit to learn that I voted for the good doctor, and will do so again.

    Why you would vote for somebody that I just caught in a bald-face lie is beyond me. He easily could have gotten high-quality representative pictures of a similar project as well as the current structure from the projects website. Instead, he took even MORE time to hunt down some random, unrelated and misleading photo of something completely different. HE LIED. PERIOD. Regardless of whether you agree with his opinion on the worthiness of this project or not, LYING to back up your claims is WRONG.

    Does this exceed your ability to comprehend? Does it not dawn on you that YOU should be writing him today and pointing out that while you agree with him in principle on this matter, the fact that he LIES about it is unacceptable and will make you reconsider voting for him in the future. THAT is what an honest voter would do. But somehow, I doubt that you are an honest voter.

    And actually, Marshall, I have repeatedly called for EVERYONE’S taxes to be raised, mine included. I also pay far more than the average, and am fairly young and will be paying every which way the next few decades. So yes, it is MY money. The whopping penny that this project will cost me is money well spent.

  41. I’m another one of those drivers that assist turtles I see along the road (and worms on the sidewalk, but I admit that’s me taking it a bit far.) But at that price it’d probably be cheaper to hire a couple guys to patrol the highway and carry the turtles to the other side.

    I eagerly await the Family Flying Turtle Avoidance Act

    Modeled, no doubt, on Japan’s pioneering “Gamera: Guardian of the Universe and Friend to All Children Act”. It was a controversial move there, too, but rebuilding Tokyo every couple months was becoming a drain on the local economy.

  42. Does this exceed your ability to comprehend? Does it not dawn on you that YOU should be writing him today and pointing out that while you agree with him in principle on this matter, the fact that he LIES about it is unacceptable and will make you reconsider voting for him in the future. THAT is what an honest voter would do.

    God, could you be more full of shit? You voted for Obama, who doesn’t say anything that is honest. Good to know you won’t be voting for him in round 2.

    Does the picture of the sign have a caption, or does Coburn claim ANYWHERE that the picture represents the proposed project? Since the answer to both is no, your claim of dishonesty is,typically, absurd. It is called satire.

    I also pay far more than the average, and am fairly young and will be paying every which way the next few decades. So yes, it is MY money.

    This is either gross stupidity or self-denial. The project was supposed to cost how many millions of dollars? But you claim to pay “above the average” so it is all “your money”? Funny how “your money” must be collected from other people at the point of a gun.

  43. Marshall,

    You mean peoples’

  44. Regarding the shovel ready issue. You can’t qualify for stimulus money unless you are shovel ready. The project met all of the deadlines and requirements. I’m not sure why one reader thinks that a media report from several months ago is proof that a project is not shovel ready. As I said, it was approved by the MPO (at the county level), Florida Dept of Transportation (at the state level), and the feds. It’s a deserving project that has met all of the requirements.

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