The Maine Turnpike Authority voted last night to ban trucks from the left lane of the state's three-lane highways, including I-95, as a way to lower pollution. Officials of the Maine Motor Transport Association argued that the truck ban doesn’t make sense, because pollution from a truck traveling in the left lane would be the same as from a truck traveling in a different lane.

Trucks rarely travel in the left lane and for the most part don’t need to be there, turnpike spokesman Dan Paradee said.

The Authority had originally considered banning all heavy vehicles from the left lane as a way to improve air quality but decided to exempt buses to encourage people to take buses instead of low occupancy cars.

The ban, which could start as early as this spring, would apply to the state turnpike and I-95 from the New Hampshire border to New York, which falls under the control of the state Department of Transportation.