Report: Connecticut highways among nation’s worst

Report: Connecticut highways among nation’s worst

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A new report measuring each state’s highway system ranks Connecticut as having some of the worst, least cost-effective highways in the country. 

The Reason Foundation’s 23rd annual report on highway performance ranked Connecticut’s highway system 46th among all states. 

The foundation ranks each state’s highways based on 11 categories, including cost per mile, road pavement conditions, bridge conditions, congestion rates, and traffic fatalities.

The study, released earlier this month, is based on data that state highway agencies submitted to the federal government for the year 2015. 

In 2015, Connecticut spent $497,659 per mile of highway, which ranks 44th among all states and is $320,000 more than the national average, according to the report. 

The state spent the most in administrative disbursements per mile, a measurement that looks at “general and main-office expenditures in support of state-administered highways,” but not “project-related costs,” the report said. The state paid $99,417 in administrative disbursements per mile, about $89,000 more than the national average and $22,000 more than the 49th-ranked Massachusetts.  

Despite relatively higher spending, the state ranked near the bottom in several categories measuring infrastructure quality, including 48th for urban interstate pavement condition, 44th for deficient bridges, and 35th for rural interstate pavement condition. 

Leigh Appleby, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said Connecticut’s low ranking for quality of highway “should come as a surprise to no one.”

“For decades, Connecticut has failed to make the kind of investments necessary for a top-notch transportation system, and as a result our roads and bridges are in desperate need of improvement,” Appleby said. “Without new revenue, that problem will only get worse. The Department of Transportation has suspended $4.3 billion of critically-needed projects, without which our transportation system will fall further into a state of disrepair, making our highways less safe and our state less attractive for businesses. That’s why Governor Malloy has put forward a commonsense proposal to bring new revenue into our Special Transportation Fund, and it’s why he is calling on the legislature to take action this year.”

While the cost-effectiveness and quality of Connecticut’s highways compared poorly, the state did fare better in safety — Connecticut had the sixth lowest fatality rate in 2015, according to the report. 

Several neighboring states also finished near the bottom of this year’s list, including Rhode Island, at 49th,  New York, 45th,   and Massachusetts, 44th.  New Jersey was rated as having the worst highway system. 

North Dakota, Kansas, and South Dakota made up the top 3. States in the northeast generally ranked lower on the list, while states in the great plains region generally ranked higher. 

Connecticut had been ranked 44th, two spots higher, in the Reason Foundation’s 2012 and 2013 reports. The state had 4,054 miles of state-controlled highway in 2015, 44th among all states and well below the national average of 16,283 miles.


Twitter: @MatthewZabierek


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