House Speaker Beth Harwell, whose support of efforts to strip a gas tax hike out of Governor Bill Haslam's transportation funding proposal had cast doubt about the bill's prospects, has now said she’s ‘leaning’ toward voting in favor of the Republican governor's proposal.
Harwell had publicly taken a hands-off approach to the measure as it worked its way through the legislative process. But she caught the governor's office and her Senate counterparts by surprise when she announced she was backing a last-minute bid to change the funding mechanism.
Supporters have argued the proposal would cut more taxes than it would raise through fuel tax increases.
Several House committees and Senate Republicans have rebuffed efforts to instead pay for road and bridge projects by drawing sales tax revenue from the general fund.