Rope Bridges Were Expected to Save Five Squirrels a Year From Being Road KillBy JOHN WETENHALL
Arizona abruptly canceled plans today to spend $1.25 million to build bridges for a colony of 250 squirrels so they would not have to cross a rural road and could avoid becoming road kill.
John Halikowski, director of Arizona's Department of Transportation, halted the bridge project that was being paid for with federal highway funds.
"ADOT will not spend funds simply because they are available," he said in a statement.
"Protection of the red squirrel may be an appropriate effort," Halikowski said, "but not with transportation funding."
The money was being spent, officials said, because cars kill about five of these squirrels each year. The Mount Graham red squirrel is on the endangered species list.
The cancellation came after news reports, including one from ABC News, highlighted the planned expenditure.