Transportation Policy

Reason Foundation Study Produces Surprising Good News: State Highways Are Better Than They've Been in a While!

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Anyone re-read this recently? How's it holding up?

From today's USA Today:

A new report on the condition of the USA's state highways finds that they are in the best shape they have been in nearly 20 years.

The annual study by the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based, libertarian, non-profit think tank, credits road improvement progress man by states and decreased wear and tear as commuters and commercial truckers drove less during the recession.

"Lo and behold, we've actually been making slow but steady progress on most performance measures," says report author David Hartgen, professor emeritus of transportation studies at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. The study says states did a better job of maintaining and repairing roads and bridges in 2008, the most recent year for which complete data are available. "Human nature focuses on the pothole rather than the couple of miles of smooth pavement in front of and after the pothole," Hartgen says.

Some highlights from the study, which you can read here:

* Best overall and most cost-effective roads: 1) North Dakota 2) Montana 3) Kansas 4) New Mexico 5) Nebraska

* Worst overall and least cost-effective roads: 1) Rhode Island 2) Alaska 3) California 4) Hawaii 5) New York

* New Jersey spends more than $1.1 million per mile on the roads it controls. South Carolina spends just $34,000 per mile, yet ranks 6th in best overall roads.

* California spends $93,464 in administrative costs for each mile of road it controls, while Kentucky spends just $1,100 per mile on administrative costs.

* Most traffic congestion, urban Interstates: 1) California 2) Minnesota 3) Maryland 4) New Jersey 5) North Carolina

* Worst pavement condition, urban Interstates: 1) Hawaii 2) California 3) New Jersey 4) Vermont 5) Oklahoma

* Most deficient bridges: 1) Rhode Island 2) Massachusetts (over half of both states' bridges are deficient or functionally obsolete)

* Lowest fatality rate: Massachusetts

* Highest fatality rate: Montana

Find out how your state ranked here!