Road Rage: Perry, Hutchison Fight Over Road Funding

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison hasn't formally announced if she's running for Texas Governor or not, but Gov. Rick Perry isn't letting that slow down the campaign jabs.

Hutchison introduced a bill that would allow states, including Texas, to opt out of the federal gas tax, and instead get the money for roads. The bill would put the state of Texas in charge of maintaining and building its own roads.

Rick Miner, Gov. Perry's campaign spokesman, said Perry has been pushing for similar legislation for years, and asked why it took the senator 15 years to come up with the legislation.

Miner went on to say that Hutchison is grandstanding on the issue, and said she's pushing a bill that probably won't get far in Washington.

Hutchison's senate spokesman deferred all campaign questions to the campaign spokesman, but defended the legislation, saying "Kay Bailey Hutchison has fought since she came to the senate to improve the return Texas receives on its gas tax dollars, bringing it from 76 cents on every dollar when she arrived to 92 cents now, an increase of over 20 percent. The legislation she introduced, allowing states to opt out of the federal gas tax system, is the next step in that fight, ensuring that Texas tax dollars go to Texas projects and that our state receives its fair share."

Both camps are also squabbling over a recent Perry-sponsored poll, showing that Perry is now only five percentage points behind Hutchison.

Miner said the poll shows her lead is disappearing "faster than the Wall Street bailout dollars she voted for."

Hans Klingler, Hutchison's campaign spokesman had a different take on the poll.

"Rick Perry must be very disappointed that after 10 years as governor, weeks of grandstanding rhetoric subjecting Texas to ridicule across America, and ignoring his responsibilities to lead during the legislative session, he has the support of only 39 percent of Republican primary voters ... this is both dismal and a formula for failure." 

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