Bangor Daily News: Maine transportation commissioner OKs higher speed limits on select stretches of interstate system
AUGUSTA, Maine — Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt announced Tuesday that he has approved raising speed limits on portions of the state’s interstate highways, including Interstate 295, Interstate 95, Interstate 395 and Route 1, by five miles per hour.
Motorists traveling on those routes Tuesday might have already noticed Department of Transportation crews posting signs reflecting the new speed limits. Bernhardt said during a news conference Tuesday in Augusta that he decided to raise the speed limits after a study of crash statistics and the speeds most travelers are already driving.
“It’s much safer if the operating speed and the posted speed are the same,” said Bernhardt.
Under the changes, the speed limit on Interstate 295 from Tukey’s Bridge in Portland all the way to Gardiner has increased from 65 to 70 miles per hour. The limit on the Scarborough Connector will go from 55 to 60 miles per hour and Interstate 195 in the Saco area will go from 55 to 60 miles per hour.
The top speed on a four-lane, divided portion of Route 1 between Brunswick and Bath has also been raised, from 55 to 60 miles per hour.
Most Maine State offices will be closed on Monday, May 26 in observance of Memorial Day. There will be parades and other events all over the State to honor those who gave their lives while serving in the Armed Forces. For a list of some of the Memorial Day activities in your area, please visit the links below. Please note there are some duplicate listings in these links.
Maine Unemployment Rate 5.7 Percent in April
State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette has released April workforce estimates for Maine.
The unemployment rate was the lowest since September 2008 and the employment to population ratio remained the highest since November 2008.
Over the last year, job growth was spread across a number of sectors. Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data Household Survey Estimates – The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate was 5.7 percent in April, down from 5.9 percent in March and 6.8 percent one year ago.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the number of unemployed declined 7,400 over the year to 40,500. The share of the population that is employed remained at 61.8 percent, well above the U.S. average of 58.9 percent. April was the 79th consecutive month the employment to population ratio was above the national average.
LePage Administration Begins Blocking EBT Use at ATMs in Liquor Stores, Strip Clubs and Bars
May 12, 2014
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today announced that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services has started blocking EBT cards from being used in ATM’s at prohibited locations. It is illegal to use the EBT card, which is used to access taxpayer-funded welfare money, in certain locations as a result of legislation signed by Governor LePage in 2012.
In May of 2012, Governor LePage signed into law “An Act to Strengthen the State’s Ability To Investigate and Prosecute Misuse of Public Benefits.” This law mandates that an EBT card may not be used in “a retail establishment where 50 percent or more of the gross revenue of the establishment is derived from the sale of liquor; a gambling facility, except that use of the electronic benefits transfer system is permitted in any portion of the premises of a gambling facility that is set aside separately for the sale primarily of staple foods; or a retail establishment that provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment.”
DHHS has already blocked EBT card use in 44 ATMs around the state. The Department is blocking of as many of these ATMs as possible and anticipates that more than 200 locations will be blocked by August. By law, if an individual uses an EBT card at a prohibited location, it is considered an intentional program violation and results in removal of that individual from the program for one year. A second violation results in a two-year suspension. If there is a third violation, the individual will be permanently disqualified from the program.