Testimony by Pete Didisheim, NRCM Senior Director of Advocacy
Senator Mazurek, Representative Theriault and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation. My name is Pete Didisheim, I am the Advocacy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and I appreciate this opportunity to testify in opposition to LD 407.
Of the various sign bills coming before the Transportation Committee this session, this is one of the most troubling. The bill directs the Department of Transportation to install Oxford Casino signs along the Maine Turnpike, at the Gray and Auburn interchanges, and the casino is offering to pay for the signs.
This bill is a clear effort to bypass Maine’s billboard ban, and it specifically is an attempt to get an exception to §1911(2) which provides a path for businesses to get Official Business Directional Signs placed at intersections where a change in direction is required. Those signs are available if they are placed within 10 miles of the business, but this bill would get signs placed on the Maine turnpike 20 miles from the casino.
But if the Oxford Casino gets this special treatment, why not every other business in Maine within 20 miles from the highway? And why not 30 miles or 40 miles? Why not also have signs at the Gray and Auburn exits for the Oxford Raceway or all the other businesses and ski areas that can be accessed off that interchange?
If a business can avoid the existing law by simply getting a legislator to sponsor a bill and offer to pay for the sign, then Maine will completely lose control of signage on our roadways.
We do not believe that the Oxford Casino needs special treatment by creating a loophole in Maine’s sign laws There’s no evidence that anyone is getting lost trying to find the casino or that such signage is an effective means of promoting visitors to the casino.
For these reasons, NRCM urges that you vote Ought Not to Pass on LD 407.
I appreciate this opportunity to testify and would be glad to answer any questions you may have.