New ‘urgency’ on dealing with gas taxes?

Deputy Governor Jim Henry left some legislators with the impression the Haslam administration is having second thoughts about putting off a push for enhancing revenue for the state’s highway trust fund until next year, according to the Times-Free Press.

The administration plans to discuss funding options individually with all 132 state legislators, Henry told the House Transportation Committee after sketching Tennessee’s long-term road, bridge and mass transportation needs as well as the key role transportation plays in areas ranging from economic development to tourism and education.

“I just want to hopefully impress upon you the urgency of this,” he said.

“We can wait,” Henry added. “We can kick the can down the road, but I think the time for dealing with it is now. And we’ll try to do that in the next coming weeks, and in a few weeks come back to you for something specific that we’ve recommended as far how we get there, how much it’s going to cost and who’s going to pay for it.”

Rep. David Alexander, R-Winchester, wanted to make sure he was hearing Henry correctly.

“So that I understand you, deputy governor, in the next couple of weeks y’all are going to be bringing some proposals to this committee?” Alexander asked.

“Yes” was Henry’s one word answer.

As Alexander began to follow up with another question about a specific bill before the committee, Henry interjected, saying, “we’re going to talk to every member of the General Assembly and we want to get their idea on how you fund this and then we’d be coming back.

“It is our plan to come back with some kind of proposal.”