Sebelius calls I-70 scarier than 9-11

Comments come in forum in front of Johnson County chamber members

? Missouri didn’t fare well in a debate Wednesday between the two major candidates for Kansas governor.

Democrat Kathleen Sebelius said Missouri roads were scarier than the Sept. 11 terroristic attacks, and Republican Tim Shallenburger called Branson, Mo., a tourist trap.

In response to a question on highway funding during a forum in front of several Johnson County chambers of commerce, Sebelius said she had been stranded in Ohio when the nation’s airports were shut down after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

She rented a car and drove by herself on Interstate 70 through Missouri to Kansas.

“The roads in Missouri were much more terrifying to me than the attacks on the World Trade Center, because I really did think my life was far more at risk,” she said.

The condition of that road showed why it was important for Kansas to keep up its highway infrastructure, she added.

Later, in response to a reporter’s question about Sebelius’ comment, Republican nominee Tim Shallenburger said, “I wouldn’t have said that. I don’t think roads are more dangerous than what happened on 9-11.”

Shallenburger also picked up on the Missouri theme, saying Kansas should imitate its neighbor in promoting tourism.

“I’m from southeast Kansas. There used to be a cave near a little town called Branson. That was it, a cave; a dirty, dingy cave. Today it’s the fourth-biggest tourist trap in the country,” he said.