Haslam acknowledges likely rough road on gas tax hike plan

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at the state Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, about his plan to boost transportation funding while also cutting taxes. Haslam's plan would hike gas taxes by 7 cents per gallon. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)
photo Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam talks about education and his budget to the editorial board at the Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday proposed hiking Tennessee gas and diesel taxes for the first time since 1989.

The governor argued the proposed increases will help provide $278 million more a year in new funding needed to cut backlogs on maintenance and new construction on hundreds of road, highway and bridge projects statewide.

But in an effort to get fellow Republicans in the GOP-run General Assembly on board in light of huge state surpluses in non-transportation revenues, the governor is also recommending a corresponding