The Forbes Bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed just before President Biden made a trip to the city during which he talked about the need to upgrade America’s infrastructure. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) is his first move to begin the rebuilding. The legislation includes plans to address the fact that one in every five miles of highway in the country, and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. The investment may not be enough. The American Society of Civil Engineers puts the cost to upgrade the national infrastructure at $2.6 trillion over the next ten years.
The quality of infrastructure, particularly roads, has varied from state to 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 highways and uses data from 2019 and 2020. In sum, the report says, “State-controlled mileage encompasses the state highway systems, state-agency toll roads, some ferry services, and smaller systems serving universities and state-owned properties. It includes the Interstate System, the National Highway System, and most federal-aid system roads.”
The report’s author, 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.”
In detail, the report uses 13 yardsticks to create a final score for each state. 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.
The states that topped the list were North Dakota, Virginia, Missouri and Kentucky. As measured by what the organization calls OVERALL HIGHWAY PERFORMANCE RANKINGS, 2019, the three states finished in that order.
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