Gov. Bill Haslam says he's committed to coming up with a new plan to pay for roads, even if it's not this year.
The governor discussed the challenges facing the state's highways with reporters in Nashville on Tuesday, one day after he jetted around Tennessee to highlight projects that he says can't be done unless the state increases funding. That would likely include raising the state's gas tax of 21.4 cents a gallon.
State lawmakers haven't been receptive to that idea, and without their support, Haslam says he can't go forward.
"I don't know that we have to address it this year, but we have to address it while I'm governor. I'll just put it that way. Or the state will really be behind the eight ball."
He says traffic congestion could choke growth in Tennessee, especially if the state loses jobs to states with better roads.
He says it's up to lawmakers to work with his administration to develop a comprehensive plan for highways. That plan, he says, would identify which projects to pursue and how to pay for them.
Haslam's second term ends in 2018.