Governor Bill Haslam on Tuesday pushed back against some fellow Republican lawmakers who say they can raise money to fix the state's crumbling roads and bridges without raising the gas tax.
Haslam though says their plan places too much of a burden on Tennesseans and does not bring in money from out of state drivers who use state roads.
"When the media covers this they always talk about Haslam’s gas tax, well hold on a minute, within that we’re getting billions of dollars of new roads and structures," the Governor told the Nashville Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday morning.
Last month Haslam rolled out his IMPROVE Act, legislation that would raise the gas tax by seven cents a gallon for regular gas. According to Governor Haslam that would create $278 million dollars which would be used specifically to address transportation issues. It would be the first time the gas tax has been raised since 1988.
"This will be really difficult, this will be really difficult ... but this is a critical issue facing us," Haslam added.
To offset the gas tax increase Haslam has proposed lowering other taxes including the grocery tax.
On Tuesday he also pushed back against some Republican lawmakers who have proposed their own legislation to raise transportation funds by taking one quarter of one percent of the sales tax.
"I have a fundamental issue with saying the citizens of Tennessee are going to subsidize everybody who travels down I40 because a lot of those are not Tennesseans," he added.