Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is continuing his push to privatize the state’s state-run liquor stores, a move his administration estimates could generate between $300 million and $500 million of up-front money for the state’s transportation needs.

“I don’t think selling alcohol is a core function of government,” he said on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” program. “One of the reasons we don’t have enough money for construction is … we’re robbing the transportation trust fund, which is the construction money, and putting it into maintenance.”

Recent maintenance efforts include patching 175,000 potholes and spending about $230 million on snow plowing during the winter, he said.

“ABC [Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control] privatization — I would ask for the public’s support on that because taking that, licensing the stores, will generate a lot of money that I can put right up front into transportation maintenance,” he said.

“Obviously I’m concerned about other core functions of government that we do have to fund and our proposals will account for that,” he added.

His administration last week outlined four general proposals, with support appearing to lean toward a plan to auction off a limited number of retail licenses.