LOS ANGELES – Coming in at 49, Rhode Island’s state highway system continues to rank as one of the lowest nationally, according to the latest annual highway report by the Reason Foundation.
The report evaluates state highway systems based on 11 indicators including highway expenditures per mile, urban interstate congestion, bridge condition and fatality rates.
Rhode Island highways improved from 50th to 49th in the most recent report, which was based off of data collected by the federal government in 2009.
Rhode Island hosts the country’s smallest highway system at 1,112 miles. It spends $345,970 per-mile, 2.4 times more than the national average, and ranks 42 in the nation in the category. Despite its high rate of spending per-mile, Rhode Island highways are plagued by poor conditions.
Rhode Island highways rank at 50th in deficient bridges, 49th in rural arterials in poor condition, and 42nd in urban interstate congestion. The Ocean State’s fatality rank was one of its highest at 19.
The Massachusetts highway system ranked 43rd overall, improving from 44th in the previous iteration of the report. The Bay State continued its streak claiming the lowest national fatality rate, but its per-mile highway costs exceed even those of Rhode Island. Ranking at 48, Massachusetts spends $642,834 per-mile.
According to the report, aside from pavement condition and the state of rural arterial roads, minor improvement has been achieved in all categories at the national level.
“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,” David Hartgen , author of the study and emeritus transportation professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said in a statement.
Compared to 2008, states spent 0.6 percent less on highway funding in 2009, despite stimulus funding from the federal government that year.