Sorry, got busy at work and couldn't post until now. Below is the script I rolled up from the suggestions.
It strikes me in hindsight that this might also be achieved with an edge snap instead of a near command - it looks like arcGIS basically performs a near command on the snap.
import arcpy, os
inPoints = arcpy.GetParameterAsText(0)
nearLines = arcpy.GetParameterAsText(1)
outFC = arcpy.GetParameterAsText(2)
scratchWorkspace = arcpy.GetParameterAsText(3)
# Get the scratch workspace.
#scratchWorkSace = env.scratchWorkspace
# Get the spatial reference of the input
spatialRef = arcpy.Describe(inPoints).spatialReference
# Determine the temporary output feature class path and name
tempFC = os.path.join(scratchWorkspace, "temp")
# Copy input point features to temporary feature class
# Add XY coordinates for point features
# Perform Near Analysis
arcpy.Near_analysis(tempFC, nearLines, "", "LOCATION", "NO_ANGLE")
# Create connector line FC using XY To Line
arcpy.XYToLine_management("tempFC", "outFC", "POINT_X", "POINT_Y", "NEAR_X", "NEAR_Y", "GEODESIC", "", "spatialRef")
except Exception, e:
# If an error occurred, print line number and error message
import traceback, sys
tb = sys.exc_info()
print "Line %i" % tb.tb_lineno