LOS ANGELES, 7/2/2013 – As Americans
hit the road for the Fourth of July holiday, they’ll be driving on
slightly smoother roads, crossing fewer deficient bridges and
spending less time stuck in traffic jams, according to the Reason
Foundation’s Annual Highway Report.
The report measures the condition and
cost-effectiveness of state-owned roads in 11 categories, including
pavement condition on urban and rural interstates, urban traffic
congestion, deficient bridges, unsafe narrow lanes, traffic
fatalities, total spending per mile of state roads and
administrative costs per mile. The study’s rankings are based on
data that states reported to the federal government for 2009, the
most recent year with full spending statistics available.
Nationwide, there was small progress
in every category except for pavement condition on rural arterial
roads. These improvements were achieved at a time when per-mile
expenditures dropped slightly. Despite receiving stimulus funding
from the federal government in 2009, spending on state roads
decreased slightly, by 0.6 percent, in 2009 compared to 2008.
hard to believe it when you hit a pothole or see a bridge in
Washington collapse, but the nation’s roads are getting better,”
said David Hartgen, author of the study and emeritus transportation
professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “There
are still several states struggling and plenty of problem areas. But
you make the case that overall America’s roads and bridges have
never been in better shape.”
Among the states plagued with problems
are New Jersey and California. New Jersey spends $1.2 million per
mile on its state-controlled roads. That’s nearly twice as much as
the $679,000 per mile that the next biggest spending state –
California – spends. North Carolina, home to the nation’s largest
state highway system, spends $44,000 per mile on its roads. South
Carolina spends just $31,000, the lowest per mile rate in the
nation, according to the Reason Foundation’s study of all 50
state-controlled road systems.
Drivers in California and New Jersey
may be wondering what they are getting in return for that money.
More than 16 percent of urban interstate pavement in each of those
states is in poor condition. Only Hawaii ranks worse, with 27
percent of its urban interstate pavement rated as poor.
Not only are California’s interstates
full of potholes, they are also jammed: 80 percent of the state’s
urban interstates are congested. Minnesota has the next highest
percentage of gridlocked interstates, with 78 percent of urban
interstates deemed congested.
terms of overall road conditions and cost-effectiveness, North
Dakota has the country’s top ranked state-controlled road system,
followed by Kansas (second), Wyoming (third), New Mexico (fourth)
and Montana (fifth), according to Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway
Alaska’s state-controlled road system
is the lowest quality and least cost-effective in the nation. Rhode
Island (49th) Hawaii (48th), California (47th),
New Jersey (46th) and New York (45th) also
Vermont’s roads showed the most
improvement in the nation, improving from 42nd in the
previous report to 28th in the new overall rankings. New
Hampshire (27th) and Washington (24th) both
improved nine spots in the rankings.
Minnesota system plummeted 17 spots in
the rankings, from 25th to 42nd and Delaware
dropped nine spots to 20th.
Massachusetts had the lowest traffic
fatality rate, while Montana had the highest.
The Trucker News Services