State lawmakers will hear one more push to increase the gas tax. Governor Bill Haslam said Tuesday that he’ll meet privately with representatives to try one more time to make the case.
“We cannot keep doing what we’re doing now,” he said. “We know we have a $6 billion backlog in road needs. It’s a question of: How quickly do we want to address that as a state?”
Haslam admits that gas tax reform could be a “tall order” for at least two reasons.
He said it’s common for lawmakers to want projects in their districts — but to hesitate when it comes to finding the funding. And he said statewide road plans are complex, which makes them unlikely to develop late in the session. Even a prominent Haslam ally, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, has balked at the idea.
Meanwhile, another gas tax proposal was dealt a setback Tuesday. A bill that would have allowed local governments to raise the gas tax to pay for transportation was sent to a summer study session.