This State Has the Best Highways in America

The ForbesAvenue Bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed hours before President Joe Biden was to arrive in the city to make a speech about the need to upgrade America’s infrastructure. Like everything else, conditions of bridges, roads, and highways vary from state to state, and the state with the best highways in America is North Dakota.

Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) is his first move to begin the rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure legislation includes plans to address the fact that 1 in every 5 miles of highway in the country and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. (These are the states with the most structurally deficient bridges.)

The investment, however, may not be enough. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates the cost to upgrade the national infrastructure at $2.6 trillion over the next 10 years.

The quality of infrastructure, particularly roads, has varied from state to state, and so is their current state. One reason for this is that states have their own budgets to repair parts of their highway systems.

One of the most complete studies of America’s road repairs challenges is the Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report. The 26th annual edition of the report was released recently. 

The report looks at state-controlled mileage, including the state highway systems, toll roads, some ferry services, and smaller systems serving universities and state-owned properties. Mileage also includes the Interstate System, the National Highway System, and most federal-aid system roads. 

In all, the report uses 13 yardsticks for its overall highway performance rankings, 2019. These include state financial disbursements for roads and bridges, disbursements for maintenance, analysis of both urban and rural roads, pavement condition, and structurally deficient bridges. 

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the report to find the 25 states with the best highways. We included several measures from the report: annual peak hours spent in congestion per commuter, percent of bridges that are structurally deficient, and roadways fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles.

The states that top the list are North Dakota, followed by Virginia, Missouri, Kentucky, and North Carolina. On the flip side, this state has the worst highways in America.

One of the report’s authors, Baruch Feigenbaum, told Route Fifty that “States need to ensure their highway spending produces safer roads, smoother pavement, fewer deficient bridges, and less traffic congestion. The states with the best overall rankings maintain better-than-average highways with relatively efficient spending per mile.”

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