Pennsylvania ranked toward the bottom of a nonpartisan organization’s analysis of rural and urban highway conditions.
Researchers with the Reason Foundation ranked Pennsylvania No. 35 overall in its 24th annual Highway Report. The Keystone State ranked below the national median in nearly every category analyzed.
Neighboring states had differing results. Ohio, for example, ranked higher at No. 18 overall, but New York ranked lower, at No. 45.
On the whole, Reason Foundation’s researchers concluded many of the nation’s highway conditions are deteriorating, particularly in some areas of the country where infrastructure costs remain a challenge for state budgets.
“In looking at the nation’s highway system as a whole, there was a decades-long trend of incremental improvement in most key categories, but the overall condition of the highway system has worsened in recent years,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the study, in a statement.
In an executive summary within the 65-page report, Feigenbaum, M. Gregory Fields and Spence Purnell, who also serve as researchers with the Reason Foundation, said most states in the most recent analysis did report declines in some of the key infrastructure. Pennsylvania was singled out in one particular bullet point.
“Although the majority of states saw the percentage of structurally deficient bridges decline, five states report more than 18 percent of their bridges as structurally deficient: Rhode Island, Iowa, West Virginia, South Dakota and Pennsylvania,” the researchers wrote.
Pennsylvania was in the fourth quintile, or bottom 10, in two specific categories – rural arterial pavement conditions, where it ranked No. 41, and structurally deficient bridges, at No. 46.
It also fell into the third quintile in seven of the 13 total categories reviewed in the Reason Foundation’s analysis. Examples include the state’s total disbursements per mile, No. 39, and the amount allocated, per mile, for capital and bridge disbursements, where it ranked No. 38.
In the analysis, the Reason Foundation’s researchers also noted Pennsylvania ranked fourth across the nation for the largest number of state-controlled highways, encompassing 41,659 miles. The category includes such infrastructure as state highway systems, interstate and national highway systems and smaller systems serving universities.
Texas was the state with the highest amount of state-controlled highways, clocking in at 80,854 miles; at the other end, Hawaii, by contrast, had 1,012 state-controlled miles of highway across its network of islands.
North Dakota was the top-performing state overall in the analysis, while New Jersey ranked No. 50.