Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Reason Foundation Report Shows Alaska 49th In The U.S. In The Performance Of State Highway Systems

A report published August 5th, 2008 by the Reason Foundation shows that Alaska is a miserable 49th in the United States in the performance of state highway systems. The report, entitled the 17th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems, measures the performance of all state-owned roads and highways from 1984 to 2006. The study calculates the effectiveness and performance of each state in 12 different categories, including traffic fatalities, congestion, pavement condition, bridge condition, highway maintenance costs, and administrative costs. Click HERE to view the full 66-page report in PDF format; Alaska is briefly described on pages 43 and 44 of the report, although there are graphical comparison tables scattered throughout.

No Alaska media reaction to this story has yet been published. Click HERE for the results of a Google News Search for other media stories about this report.

On the top end of the scale, North Dakota's state-owned highway system is the nation's most cost-effective, an honor the state has held since 2001. North Dakota finished first, or tied for first, in five of the report's 12 categories, including rural interstate condition. Montana jumped from 5th to 2nd in the overall performance and cost-effectiveness rankings. But on the bottom end, New Jersey finished 50th overall, and dead last in five of the study's 12 categories, despite having the nation's 4th smallest state-owned highway system. Several of the least populous states performed very poorly, and make up the rest of the bottom five: Alaska (49th), Rhode Island (48th), Hawaii (47th), and New Hampshire (46th). Click HERE or view this map HERE to find out where YOUR state stands on the list.

Mileage under state control - 6436
Total disbursements per mile - $101225.45 (Rank: 21)
Rural interstate miles in poor condition - 8.98% (Rank: 46)
Rural primary road miles in poor condition - 16.59% (Rank: 50)
Urban interstate miles in poor condition - 0% (Rank: 1)
Urban interstate miles congested - 7.25% (Rank: 8)
Rural primary roads with narrow lanes - 6.82% (Rank: 26)
Fatality rate per 100 million miles - 1.49 (Rank: 27)
Deficient bridges - 22.34% (Rank: 21)

The study shows a disparity between urban and rural road issues. Many rural roads are in areas with few residents, which means lesser demand for maintenance. There is a continuing need for more turnouts on our major state highways so that slower vehicles can pull off and allow others to pass. The Alaska Department of Transportation website contains a multitude of resources for those interested in researching transportation projects and funding further. This includes a link to the massive Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), a 14 megabyte monster PDF file.

Founded in 1968, the Reason Foundation advances a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization completely supported by voluntary contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations, and the sale of their publications.

Reason produces respected public policy research on a variety of issues and publishes the critically acclaimed monthly magazine, Reason, which, unlike the dry and boring Liberty magazine, actually brings libertarianism to life. Together, their top-tier think tank and political and cultural magazine reach a diverse, influential audience, advancing the values of individual freedom and choice, limited government, and market-friendly policies.

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