On the road again …
Willie Nelson knows a thing or two about Texas roads and so does Professor David Hartgen at UNC Charlotte.
Hartgen isn’t a Texan himself, but he is the author of the Annual Highway Report, issued by the Reason Foundation.
The report examines eleven indicators, including things like deficient bridges, urban and rural pavement conditions, and total spending per mile of state roads.
“Overall we rated Texas 11th in terms of the quality and cost effectiveness of the 50 state highway systems. It’s a very large system, over 80,000 miles and they have a very large budget. But actually when you look at how much they’re responsible for, their budget is a little less than what the average state has. And you then look at the conditions, they’re actually doing quite well.”
The highway report uses numbers from 2009, the most recent year with complete spending reports from all 50 states.
Hartgen says Texas ranked 17th in the nation in 2007 and 11th just two years later.
“Most states have actually improved, but Texas has improved more than most states. They particularly have been able to spread their budget out around their highway system. They’ve held their maintenance costs down and their total disbursements down.”
Texas lawmakers in the second special session are trying to create additional funding for the Texas Department of Transportation by diverting a billion dollars a year from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to build and repair roads and bridges.
And if you’re wondering which state got first place, it’s North Dakota.