An annual report on the nation’s highways found Ohio’s rank among states has dropped 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, looked at state-by-state road conditions and cost effectiveness, putting North Dakota in the No. 1 spot and Alaska in last place.
Ohio ranked No. 11 in fatality rate, No. 19 in urban interstate pavement condition and No. 24 in deficient bridges, but it ranked No. 29 in interstate pavement condition, No. 32 in total costs per mile and No. 46 in urban interstate congestion.
Among the findings: About 22.73 percent of Ohio’s bridges were deemed deficient in 2009, down from 24.51 percent in 2007.
The study is based on 2009 spending and performance data submitted by state highway agencies to the federal government.
With 20,394 paved miles, Ohio had the ninth largest highway system in the nation. In comparison, North Dakota, which ranked No. 1 in the report, had 7,408 paved miles, and Texas, which ranked No. 11, had 80,212 paved miles — the second most in the nation.
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,” the report 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: “The U.S. economic downturn, which began in 2007 and continued in earnest in 2008 and 2009, is an important background factor influencing these trends. In 2008 total U.S. annual vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) fell about 3.5 percent from 2007 levels, lowering congestion slightly from prior years. Also, beginning in late 2008 and continuing into 2009 and 2010, federal stimulus funding contributed an additional 22 percent to funding resources.”