Haslam ‘very ready to present’ gas tax plan — but now waiting on legislators

Gov. Bill Haslam says he’s “very ready to present” his long-awaited transportation-funding recommendations is waiting at the request of some fellow Republicans in the General Assembly who want to explore their own funding ideas, reports the Times-Free Press.

“In talking with them, [they] said we want to have time to think through their proposals,” the governor said when asked when he expected to announce a new transportation program and a funding proposal. “So we said, sure, we’ll spend this month having those discussions and letting you think through alternatives that you might be able to come up with.”

Haslam said the unspecified lawmakers “said they’d come back to us some time. We told them the budget process and the timing and hopefully they’ll come back with their ideas pretty quickly.

“I think everybody just feels obviously this is a big decision for this state and they wanted a chance to think through it and talk through it with people in their districts before they heard our proposal,” the governor added. “At the appropriate time, obviously, we’ll come with our proposal.”

In mid-2015, Haslam began trying to make the case to the GOP-dominated Legislature that Tennessee needed to shore up funding for roads and other transportation-related needs. He has yet to present a plan and has shied away from stating it would include a recommendation the state approve its first gas tax increase since 1989.

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