Maine lawmakers advance 75 mph speed bill

| 5/17/2011

On the move in the Maine Legislature is a bill to allow all vehicles to travel faster along a rural portion of Interstate 95.

The Legislature’s Transportation Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill that would increase the speed limit from 65 mph to 75 mph along the northernmost stretch of interstate.

Sponsored by Rep. Alexander Willette, R-Mapleton, the bill would authorize the Maine Department of Transportation to increase speeds along 91 miles of highway that links Old Town and Houlton. The transportation commissioner could also decide to keep speeds posted at 65 mph along stretches of the highway.

Willette said the state DOT supports the bill because a study showed that 85 percent of the vehicles traveling along the affected stretch of I-95 were already averaging around 75 mph.

“When they studied it people are already traveling 74-75 mph. They are basically making it legal for all those folks who are already speeding,” Willette told Land Line.

Willette said the change would also facilitate the flow of goods moving north and south in the state.

“It helps people get from point A to point B a little bit faster,” he said.

The bill – LD1557 – now awaits consideration on the House and Senate floor. If it reaches his desk, Gov. Paul LePage is expected to vote in favor of the bill.

An advisor for the governor spoke in favor of the bill at the committee hearing. Senior Policy Advisor Jonathan Nass told lawmakers the speed increase would be beneficial to the area’s economy.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Maine, click here.

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