Republican gubernatorial nominee John N. Dalton charged yesterday that his Democratic opponent, Henry Howell, wants to cut back on road maintenance and that this would impair future road repair and construction in Virginia.

Speaking to about 50 supporters at the opening of his campaign headquarters at 4321 Markham St. Annandale, Dalton said Howell has proposed funding the state police out of highway funds. He said this would mean an estimated $125 million less for roads during the next four years if Howell is elected.

The budget for the state police, which,according to Dalton, is about $30 million annually, is now taken out of general state operating funds. Dalton supports continuing this practice.

Frank Bolling, Howell's press secretary, said Howell has proposed diverting money from highway fund "is sufficiently healthy," and placing the operation of the state police under the fund would not critically impair road improvement or construction.

Dalton said he favors continued improvements and road construction in the state. He said transportation is one of the main problems facing Northern Virginia.

He said he would work to see that the state continues to support the Metro rail transit system.

Dalton also said he supports completion of the 9.6 mile segnebt if Interstate 66 that will connect the Capital Beltway to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. "Where he (Howell) stands on 1.66 is beyond me," he said.

Although Howell has said he has sympathy for the people who were displaced when the state obtained right-of-way for 1-66, he has not taken a specific stand on that highway issue.

Howell couldnot be reached for comment on 1-66 yesterday.