A national report released last week announced an ITD success that often gets lost in the daily business of operating a transportation system. ITD continues to rank among the nation’s leaders for in terms of management and performance.
The Reason Foundation, a nonpartisan public policy research organization based in Washington, D.C., released its 18th annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems.
Researchers David T. Hartgen, Ravi K. Karanam and M. Gregory Fields produced the 112-page report that analyzes performance indicators based on highway mileage and condition, bridge conditions, fatality rates, congestion and states’ transportation spending.
All factors considered, Idaho ranked 14 nationally for the second consecutive year. It has been ranked as high as fifth, but recent budget constraints are negatively impacting the transportation system.
Of the 11 factors identified, Idaho’s highest ranking was eighth in the percent of narrow rural lanes. It ranks 11 in bridge condition (deficiency and obsolescence), and 12th in funding administrative functions. The worst showing comes in state-controlled highway miles (43rd) and urban interstates considered in poor condition (46th nationally).
The report tracks the performance of state-owned roads in the U.S. since 1984, with some recent information (fatalities, bridge condition and travel) for 2008. Eleven indicators make up each state’s overall rating and cover highway expenditures, pavement and bridge condition, urban congestion, fatality rates and narrow lanes.
North Dakota retained its top overall ranking, followed by New Mexico, Kansas, South Carolina and Montana. Rounding out the top 10 were Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, Georgia and Kentucky. The bottom five included Hawaii, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island and Alaska.
Rankings are based on data received in 2007, as reported to the Federal Highway Administration.
“The overall condition of the state-owned highway system continued to generally improve from 2006 to 2007,” according to the report. “Five of seven key condition indicators improved, but the percentage of deficient bridges worsened for the first time in 25 years. And after several years of improvement, the proportion of urban interstates in poor condition also worsened between 2006 and 2007…
“Spending for state-owned roads surged 10.1 percent between 2006 and 2007. Expenditures for bridge and capital actions increased even faster, 124.5 percent, from $54.66 billion to $62.57 billion. Capital and bridge expenditures now account for about 56.7 percent of the state highway budget. Maintenance expenditures increased faster still, 17.2 percent, from $17.07 billion to $20.00 billion, and account for about 18.2 percent of the budget.
“Administrative costs also rose 12.8 percent, from $7.02 to $7.91 billion, and now account for 7.2 percent of state highway spending.”
The Reason Foundation “promotes choice, competition and a dynamic market economy as the foundation for human dignity and progress. Reason produces rigorous, peer-reviewed research and directly engages the policy process, seeking strategies that emphasize cooperation, flexibility, local knowledge and results.”
The foundation is supported by voluntary contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.
To view the complete 2007-08 report, download the 112-page pdf version or visit the foundation’s Web site. http://reason.org/news/show/18th-annual-highway-report
Overall Rank in 2007 - 14