Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's road and bridge funding bill has earned a strong majority of votes in a preliminary vote in the Tennessee House.

The chamber voted 61-35 to approve the governor's proposal to pay for new projects in large part through the state's first gas tax hike since 1989, while also cutting other taxes.

A final vote on the bill wasn't expected until later in Wednesday's floor session, and opponents hoped to amend the bill to strip out the gas tax and instead dedicate sales tax revenues from auto sales to highway funding.

Haslam says his approach is fairest because up to half of fuel taxes are paid for by trucking companies and out-of-state drivers. Sales taxes on vehicles are only paid on cars and trucks registered in Tennessee.

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