Haslam learns from Insure Tennessee loss in road funding win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Not long after seeing fellow Republicans in the Legislature reject his effort to expand Medicaid, Gov. Bill Haslam was touring the state to pitch another politically difficult proposal to boost funding for roads and bridges.

Despite the Insure Tennessee loss in 2015, Haslam was confident that lawmakers would come around to the transportation proposal even though it would end up including the state’s first gas tax hike in nearly 30 years.

When the Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group founded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, announced it would fight Haslam on the gas tax as it had on Insure Tennessee, the governor defiantly responded: “Have at it.”

Leaning from his mistakes on Insure Tennessee, Haslam built a coalition capable of withstanding political pressure and passing the transportation bill this week.