By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
Starting Tuesday, Oct. 4, all vehicles traveling along Interstate 95 in rural Maine will be authorized to travel faster. New signage is expected to be in place for the change.
The new law increases the speed limit on I-95 north of Bangor from 65 mph to 75 mph. The change gives Maine the distinction of having the highest speed limit east of the Mississippi River.
Gov. Paul LePage authorized the change this summer. The new law gave the Maine Department of Transportation authority to increase speeds along 110 miles of highway that links Old Town and Houlton.
MaineDOT officials have determined that the section of highway, which is a long, straight stretch with sparse population, can accommodate faster travel.
Rep. Alexander Willette, R-Mapleton, introduced the bill at the capitol. He said a state study showed that 85 percent of the vehicles traveling along the affected stretch of I-95 were already averaging around 75 mph.
Willette previously told Land Line the change would also facilitate the flow of goods moving north and south in the state.
According to a fiscal note on the bill, the speed change will affect the state’s general fund. The fund is expected to lose out on about $100,000 in revenue from speeding tickets each fiscal year.
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