(The Center Square) – Flanked by high spending rates and chronic poor pavement conditions, Massachusetts continued to rank low in a recent national study that assessed the performance of state highways across the country.
In its 26th edition highway report, the Reason Foundation ranked Massachusetts 43rd in its analysis. The Los Angeles-based libertarian think tank gave the state a four-spot improvement from last year’s 47th ranking.
The author of the report cited several reasons in the analysis for the ranking of inferior housing, including consistently high disbursements for capital and bridge improvements, routine maintenance, and administrative expenses.
The report also singled out two chronic and significant challenges in Massachusetts – pavement quality and traffic congestion – for its ranking. Massachusetts spends 1.5 times what neighboring Maryland spends per mile of state-controlled track, according to the foundation’s study.
In the foundation report on Massachusetts, Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author and chief executive officer of transportation policy for the Reason Foundation, discussed how the state can turn the tide on its relatively weak performance.
“To improve the ranking, Massachusetts should try to ensure that its high costs translate into better road conditions and less congestion,” Feigenbaum said in a statement.
“For example,” Feigenbaum added, “the state ranks in the bottom 10 states in all four disbursement categories and also ranks in the bottom 10 in two of the four roadway condition categories (rural interstate and artery urban) and traffic jam. “
Amid the state’s pressing and continuing capital needs, Feigenbaum urged Massachusetts lawmakers to consider its spending priorities and maximize funding for the most pressing infrastructure needs.
“While it may be difficult for Massachusetts to reduce its spending, if the state could improve the quality of its pavement to the level of the national average, it would advance in the overall standings,” Feigenbaum said in the statement. “As it is, the state has high spending and many bad roads.”
Compared to neighboring states, Massachusetts is ahead of some of its neighbors. Rhode Island, for example, was 49th and New Jersey was last in 50th. New York, in 46th place, also lagged behind.
But several other neighboring states have far surpassed Massachusetts. Vermont came 13th, New Hampshire 19th, Connecticut 31st, and Maine 33rd.
None of the top 10 states in this year’s Reason Foundation report were in the Northeast. North Dakota was the top ranked state, followed by Virginia, Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina, Utah, Kansas, Idaho, South Dakota and, n ° 10, from Tennessee.