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Truckers aren't the only ones complaining the tunnel is a massive, unnecessary mistake. Gigi Gimenez of Sierra Club Miami questions the impact that will be felt next year, when a $45 million machine will bore 120 feet into the ground.
"The project is located within the Biscayne Aquifer," says Gimenez, the group's conservation chair. "Soil removal and dewatering activities could lead to petroleum, arsenic, and lead constituents in ground water."
For the business owners at Bayside, it's a matter of common sense. Winter says the money is better spent elsewhere. "They should clean up the streets instead," she says as she feeds another squirrel. "Or give me a small-business loan."
At Papa's Fries farther inside the mall, owner Ray Jurist, a Romanian who indiscriminately sprinkles his English with heavily accented fucks and goddamns, is pissed he'll be footing the bill.
"When you build a highway, that pays for itself," Jurist says. "But nobody's going to use this." The money, he adds, should be invested in public transportation, in a rail connecting the city to the airport, or better yet, to the beach.
"It's not just the money they'll need, it's the maintenance of the fucking thing," he says.
Jason Estrada, a Flagler jewelry store owner sitting next to Jurist and nursing a beer, butts in: "Get ready, Miami — you're about to get fucked."