Topeka Congressional challenger Nancy Boyda on Friday blasted U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Lawrence, for voting for legislation that she said included funds to start developing a NAFTA superhighway from Mexico to Canada that could go through Kansas.
Boyda, a Democrat from Topeka, said the proposal posed a security threat and would gobble up Kansas farmers' land and cost American jobs.
"This corridor straight into our heartland will be a gift to terrorists," Boyda said at a news conference. "Has Mr. Ryun forgotten 9-11? This corridor will punch a quarter-mile hole in our border with Mexico with virtually no way to control it."
But Boyda later said she would have voted for the same federal highway legislation she criticized Ryun about because it also included funding for Kansas road projects.
The difference between her and Ryun, she said, was that she would have let constituents in the district know about the other funding in the bill for the superhighway and asked them if they wanted her to oppose the proposal.
Ryun's office declined to comment, instead providing a link to a group called the North American SuperCorridor Coalition Inc.
On the coalition's Web site - www.nascocorridor.com - the group said it was working to develop a multifaceted transportation system along Interstate 35.
"There are no plans to build a new NAFTA Superhighway - it exists today as I-35," the group said.
But Boyda said the coalition's funding for development of the superhighway was buried deep in the federal bills.
She said the first evidence of the proposal was a furious fight in Texas about a proposal by a U.S.-Spanish group to build a megahighway for vehicles and railroads, oil and gas pipelines, water and other utilities, and broadband cable. The route is proposed to be along I-35.