Report: Virginia highways, bridges best in nation

Virginia’s highway system is the best overall in the nation in terms of cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. 

The state ranked second overall in the previous report.

Virginia also ranks top in the nation in the Capital-Bridge Disbursements Ratio, which is the cost to build new, and widen existing, highways and bridges. 

The state ranks third for its rural arterial pavement condition and firth in rural interstate pavement condition. 

Other top ten rankings, at No. 10, are the state’s urban fatality rate, number of structurally deficient bridges and “other disbursements ratio,” which are miscellaneous expenditures on highway and bridge projects and maintenance. 

The state’s worst ranking was in the “other fatality rate” category, which accounts for highway or bridge-related deaths not attributed to rural or urban areas. 

“To improve in the category rankings, Virginia should try to reduce its other and rural fatality rates, as well as its maintenance disbursements per mile. While none of the rankings are awful, these are the only categories for which Virginia ranks in the bottom half of all states,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Over the past two years Virginia’s ranking has improved 20 spots due to the improvement in all four disbursement categories, including by double digits in capital and bridge disbursements. Virginia is now the top performing state in this report.”

Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report measures the condition and cost-effectiveness of state-controlled highways in 13 categories, including pavement condition, traffic congestion, structurally deficient bridges, traffic fatalities, and spending (capital, maintenance, administrative, other) per mile.

Virginia is one of the few states that manage to have low overall costs and high overall system quality. The state is the only one with no rankings outside the top 30. Virginia ranks in the top 20 in nine of 13 categories.

“Virginia could still reduce its traffic congestion, which is forecast to rebound in a post-COVID world particularly along the I-81 and I-95 corridors. The state has added a network of managed lanes in Northern Virginia, but traffic congestion is still a problem in urban parts of the state,” the report found. 

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