How will GOP candidates fix transportation?

February 26, 2010 5:55:52 PM PST
The Texas Department of Transportation says that some state roads like Highway 290 are broken. Fixing it is a priority for voters and the candidates running for governor. When we asked U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison if TxDOT is out of money, she replied, "No, no I do not."

At virtually every campaign appearance this season, Sen. Hutchison reminds Texas voters she thinks Governor Rick Perry allowed TxDOT to run off the financial freeway.

"How could you lose a billion dollars in an accounting error? If Governor Perry is elected for another four years, nothing will change at TxDOT," said Sen. Hutchison.

It is her way of telling you she thinks the transit agency is broken, but not broke. She wants a commission to study TxDOT and its needs. She's not committed to any new money for TxDOT until she can look under the agency's hood and find out where the old money went. Much of it is federal money she says she's fought for.

Every time you fill up, 20 cents of every gallon goes to the feds in gas taxes. It's money that supposed to be distributed for highway construction.

Governor Perry says the feds return just 70 percent of that money. Sen. Hutchison says it's nearly 100 percent. Because of the way statistics are kept, both could be right.

The incumbent governor wants more of the money back.

"Unless you believe in the asphalt fairy, you're going to need to find dollars somewhere to pay for the infrastructure we need in this state," said Gov. Perry.

Debra Medina thinks the state comptroller should stop sending it to Washington in the first place.

"I hope we can create a working with Susan Combs such that she lets Washington know not to expect the money next month. That money will stay in Texas," said Medina.

It may seem easy, but would likely be a huge legal fight and could cost Texas other federal dollars.

The real solution may be new money. None of these three will say a raise in the state's gas tax is a first choice.

Early voting ends Friday, February 26. If you want to vote before Tuesday's election, you can find out more about early voting in the primaries here.

We also have profiles of the candidates running for governor here.

If you are set to head to the polls Tuesday, you'll want to be prepared. Get a look at sample ballots and find the polling locations near you.