AUGUSTA — The Maine Legislature will hold a special session on Sept. 27 to consider a congressional reapportionment plan, Gov. Paul LePage announced today.

Congressional redistricting is required to be updated every 10 years to reflect population shifts measured by the U.S. Census. A federal judge has ordered the Legislature to complete its work redrawing the line between Maine’s 1st and 2nd Districts by Sept. 30. The new districts will be in effect by the 2012 election.

A bipartisan commission of seven Republicans, seven Democrats and one independent moderator has already begun the process of redistricting. Commission member Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, in a statement, said the commission is working to create a plan that can win overwhelming legislative support.

MTA to cooperate to find toll violators

The Maine Turnpike Authority announced agreements Thursday with New Hampshire and Massachusetts, enabling all three states to impose sanctions on E-ZPass toll violators across each other’s state lines.

Enforceable penalties now include registration suspension in Maine and denial of vehicle registration renewals in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The first of their kind in the nation, the tri-state reciprocity agreements mark an important step in ensuring toll equity by addressing revenue losses caused by motorists without E-ZPass transponders or whose E-ZPass accounts perennially have insufficient funds, according to a news release from the Maine Turnpike Authority.

While the MTA previously had the ability to suspend Maine residents’ vehicle registrations, the agency had little recourse in pursuing out-of-state violators other than simply mailing invoices.

“As Maine moves toward new electronic tolling technologies and E-ZPass becomes more prevalent, the potential impact to operating budgets due to out-of-state toll violators is an increasing concern,” MTA Executive Director Peter Mills said in a news release. “These reciprocity agreements offer northern New England’s tolling agencies an increased measure of financial security.”

The agreements will be in force for one year. After that, the agencies have the option to extend the term of the pilot program for up to two additional one-year periods or create permanent agreements.

Portland I-295 lane to reopen tonight

PORTLAND — Crews will reopen the currently closed center lane and establish a newly closed lane along the side of Tukeys Bridge on Interstate 295 North tonight, according to a news release from the Maine Department of Transportation.

Crews may need to reduce this section of I-295 North to one travel lane while dismantling barriers from the center lane and creating the new lane closure. The temporary lane closure would be short in duration.

Once the move is completed, drivers will again travel this section of the I-295 project with two adjacent lanes of through traffic flowing over the bridge.

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Compiled from staff reports