Senator and gubernatorial hopeful Kay Bailey Hutchison used her appearance today at the Transportation Summit to establish her cred as someone committed to "a state-of-the-art transportation system" while knocking Rick Perry's support for tollways and the Trans Texas Corridor.
Speaking at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas, Hutchison said Texas should get more than 92 cents back for each dollar sent to Washington, plugged her Highway Fairness and Reform Act of 2009 and, with a line bound to stir up Perry's far-right supporters, lambasted the Trans Texas Corridor as "ill-conceived and unnecessary" and "the biggest land grab we've had since the beginning of our state."
She also criticized the governor's general support of tolls on roads built with federal funds, calling the strategy "double taxation."
"I'm not against development agreements, but they must protect local sovereignty and state taxpayers," she said. "Using tollroads as a permanent tax raise," she added, is "the governor's transportation strategy and I disagree with it 100 percent."
While knocking tolls, Hutchison applauded the use of high-speed light rail projects such as the Texas T-Bone, which would connect San Antonio, Houston and DFW, but which has -- like the Trans Texas Corridor project -- raised the ire of landowners.
In the end, she framed herself as more concerned than her opponent about 'regular folks' and more responsive to constituents and local leaders. "If I'm governor," she said, "I want you to know I'll work with you for transportation in Texas, not dictate to you."