FILE-Tennessee highway

Semis drive down an interstate highway in Tennessee.

(The Center Square) – The cost-effectiveness and condition of Tennessee’s highways ranked 10th in the nation in the Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report.

Tennessee ranked seventh in last year's report. Tennessee’s worst rankings came in fatality rate (40th) and urban fatality rate (46th).

“Tennessee’s 1.37 overall fatality rate is 20% higher than peer state Missouri’s rate, but slightly lower than peer state Kentucky’s rate,” the report said. “Tennessee’s 1.10 urban fatality rate is 10% higher than both Missouri’s and Kentucky’s rates.”

Tennessee, however, ranked in the top 10 in three of the four pavement condition categories. The Volunteer State was eighth in urban arterial pavement condition, ninth in urban interstate pavement condition, 10th in rural arterial pavement condition and 16th in rural interstate pavement condition.

Tennessee spends $48,943 per mile of state-controlled road, which ranks 16th in spending per mile and 18th in capital and bridge costs per mile, the report said.

“Since states have different highway budgets, system sizes, and traffic and geographic circumstances, their comparative performance depends on both system performance and the resources available,” the report said. “To determine relative performance across the country, state highway system budgets (per mile of responsibility) are compared with system performance, state-by-state. In this report, states with high overall ratings typically have better-than-average highway system conditions (good for road users) along with relatively efficient spending in per-mile categories (good for taxpayers).”

Reason Foundation provides nonpartisan public policy research and says it promotes libertarian ideas.

According to a White House press release on the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, Tennessee is expected to receive $5.8 billion for federal-aid highway programs and $302 million for bridge repairs and replacement over the next five years from the law.

"For decades, infrastructure in Tennessee has suffered from a systemic lack of investment," the White House release said. "The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make life better for millions of Tennessee residents, create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth, and position the United States to win the 21st century."

Statistics from a White House press release show 881 bridges and 270 miles of highway in Tennessee are in poor condition and that each driver pays on average $209 a year in costs because of traveling on roads in need of repair.

North Dakota, Virginia, Missouri, Kentucky and North Carolina had the most cost-effective highway systems, according to the Reason report. New Jersey, Rhode Island, Alaska, Hawaii and New York ranked at the bottom.

Staff Reporter

Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies.