An annual report comparing state-by-state road conditions and cost effectiveness found Ohio dropping from No. 13 to No. 25 over three years, despite improvement throughout the nation as a whole.
The 20th “Annual Highway Report” released by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, ranked Ohio No. 11 in fatality rate, No. 19 in urban interstate pavement condition and No. 24 in deficient bridges. The state ranked slightly better in other categories, such as interstate pavement condition (No. 29), total costs per mile (No. 32) and urban interstate congestion (No. 46).
Among the findings: About 22.7 percent of Ohio’s bridges were deemed deficient in 2009, down from 24.5 percent in 2007
With 20,394 paved miles, Ohio has the ninth largest highway system in the nation. In comparison, North Dakota, which ranked No. 1 in the report, has 7,408 paved miles, and Texas, which ranked No. 11, has 80,212 paved miles — the second most.
The study is based on 2009 spending and performance data submitted by state highway agencies to the federal government.
Although the report’s findings were generally worse than previous years for Ohio, the report found overall national improvement.
“The system’s overall condition improved dramatically from 2008 to 2009. Six of the seven key indicators of system condition showed improvement, including large gains in rural interstate and urban interstate condition, and a reduction in the fatality rate,” it read.
The report notes some of the changes may be attributable to the effects of the Great Recession, which were still lingering when states submitted 2009 data.