May 7, 2013

Senate OKs bill to selectively raise Maine interstate speeds

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate has given final approval and sent to Gov. Paul LePage a bill allowing - but not ordering - higher speeds on Maine's interstate highways.

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Stretches of highway in Maine, such as this section along the Maine Turnpike in Saco, could have higher speed limits under a bill approved by the Maine Senate on Tuesday.

The bill, L.D. 654, authorizes the transportation commissioner to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on the interstates, where the limit in most areas is 65 mph. But it doesn't mean an automatic speed limit increase.

Before any change, the transportation commissioner and engineering staff at the Department of Transportation would have to determine if it's safe to raise the speed limit on a given stretch of highway.

The bill's sponsor, Saco Democratic Rep. Justin Chenette, said during a hearing in March that a number of factors would be taken into account before raising the speed, such as how congested an area is.

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