Ranking Each State’s Highway Conditions and Cost-Effectiveness: Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota Are Best; Hawaii, Alaska and New Jersey Are Worst
State highways show small progress in deficient bridges and pavement condition, but states struggle to make significant road improvements
by David T. Hartgen, M. Gregory Fields, Baruch Feigenbaum, Reason Foundation, September 18, 2014
More money is going to state highways, but there has been very little progress in improving their condition according to the 21st Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation.
“Many of the easiest repairs and fixes to state highway and bridge systems have already been made and the rate of progress is slowing down,” said David T. Hartgen, lead author of the Annual Highway Report since 1984. “A widening gap also seems to be emerging between states that are still making improvements and a few states that are really falling behind on highway maintenance and repairs.”
Spending on state-owned roads totaled $132 billion in 2012, up 6 percent from 2011. Spending varied wildly from state to state according to the Annual Highway Report. South Carolina and West Virginia spent just $39,000 per mile of road in 2012 while New Jersey spent over $2 million per state-controlled mile. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, California and Florida were the next biggest spenders, outlaying more than $500,000 per state-controlled mile.
High administrative costs in some states could be siphoning away money for road repairs. Hawaii spent $90,000 on administrative costs for every mile of state road. Connecticut had the next highest administrative costs at $77,000 per mile. Meanwhile in Texas administration costs were less than $4,000 per mile and Kentucky spent less than $1,000 per mile on office costs, best in the nation.
From 2011 to 2012 the pavement condition on urban Interstate highways showed a very slight improvement, with 4.97 percent of urban mileage deemed to be in poor condition in 2012, down from 5.18 percent in 2011. Despite the year-to-year improvement, urban Interstate pavement condition is the same as it was in 2009. More than 10 percent of urban Interstate mileage in New York, New Jersey, Arkansas, Louisiana, California and Hawaii is in poor condition. Those six states account for nearly half of the nation’s potholed urban Interstate pavement mileage.
LINK: Read Full Study