Wyatt B. Durrette, the Virginia Republican candidate for governor, said yesterday he would consider raising gasoline taxes, floating bond issues or building toll roads to help resolve traffic problems in Northern Virginia and across the state.
"There's no doubt in my mind . . . we have to find additional funds for road building . . . and that's got to happen in 1986," Durrette said in an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters. "How to do that is the question . . . . I don't rule out any of them now."
Durrette has previously declined to say what methods he would use to pay for roads, and he was reluctant yesterday to discuss any of the options before the Nov. 5 general election against Democrat Gerald L. Baliles.
To publicly take a stand before the election would subject either candidate to "a withering political crossfire" from opponents of the method he advocated, Durrette said. "And we would promote an acrimonious debate that I don't think would serve anybody's best interests . . . . What I say is we've got to have additional money for roads. I'm willing to make that commitment."
Both Baliles and Durrette have proposed general transportation packages, but neither has committed to how he would seek the funds needed for the highway construction and improvements.
Durrette, a Richmond lawyer and a former Fairfax County legislator, also sought to deride Baliles, saying "he could not possibly have the understanding that I do of Northern Virginia transportation problems. He looks at them, I think, from [the point of view of] someone who has lived in Richmond all his life and thinks he knows what a traffic jam is. And you don't know what a traffic jam is unless you've been up here."
In the two-hour interview, Durrette said he and Baliles disagree sharply on several key issues but conceded the gap between them is not as wide as between Democrats and Republicans in many previous campaigns in the state.
Durrette said their difference are not as great as those between President Reagan and Walter Mondale and U.S. Sen. John W. Warner and Edie Harrison last year, or between the populist gubernatorial campaigns of Democrat Henry E. Howell in the 1970s against John N. Dalton and Mills E. Godwin.
" . . . Measured against that standard, I will not succeed and nor will he in drawing those kind of distinctions . . . because that's a gulf and we're more like a river [apart]."
Among the issues, Durrette said he favors and Baliles opposes merit selection of state judges, expansion of capital punishment statutes to cover several additional crimes, merit pay for teachers, and an antiabortion bill to require doctors to inform parents or have a juvenile court judge's permission before performing an abortion on minors.
"Those are a right many differences, but they may not be the kind of differences that are as easy to portray to the electorate . . . ," Durrette said.
Another difference, Durrette said, was support for Virginia's "right-to-work" law, which bans mandatory union membership. The Republican said he "would have a very strong reluctance" to sign any compact for the proposed regional airport authority that would operate National and Dulles International airports that did not uphold the state law.
However, Durrette, said he would "wait and see all the elements" and would not rule out signing such an agreement without the law, which consistently has been opposed in Maryland and the District. The compact is pending in Congress.
Durrette has made the right-to-work law a centerpiece of his campaign and has charged that Baliles failed as attorney general to enforce the law as part of the regional compact that operates the Washington Metrorail system.
Durrette said he supports Democratic Gov. Charles S. Robb's $30 million Center for Innovative Technology in Northern Virginia, but said the proposed high tech clearinghouse has become enmeshed in "a quagmire" over its exact role.
Durrette said the state should decide whether the CIT, scheduled to be built on the Fairfax-Loudoun county line near Dulles, should become a part of the fast-developing George Mason University or remain as an independent arm of the state associated with several colleges and universities.