Maine lawmakers could revive highway billboards

A billboard on Main Street in Bangor is torn down by Maine Department of Transportation workers in January 1984.
A billboard on Main Street in Bangor is torn down by Maine Department of Transportation workers in January 1984.
Posted April 25, 2011, at 6:55 a.m.
Last modified April 25, 2011, at 6:10 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Some Maine lawmakers want to weaken the state’s 34-year-old ban on roadside billboards.

State Rep. Dennis Keschl of Belgrade says what his proposal is trying to do is make small businesses more accessible to the traveling public. His proposal would allow large signs that would be visible from interstate highways. Billboards would not be allowed off business properties.

Another proposal, LD 1367, sponsored would allow billboards, with revenue going to the state.

Since 1977, Maine has banned large advertising signs. Vermont, Alaska and Hawaii are the other states with similar bans.

Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce President Dana Connors, who was the state’s transportation commissioner when Maine’s last billboards were taken down, tells the Portland Press Herald the decision to remove billboards was a good one.

“I can’t tell you the number of times — even today, years and years later — people will comment on how wonderful it is and how much they appreciate the openness of our highways to be able to see the surrounding environment,” Connors said. “I think you may take it for granted, but it has become part of our brand, our quality of life.”

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