How much do states spend on roads? The answer to that question is quite a lot, for some states at least. Using information pulled from the 2019 Annual Highway Report, we found how much the states are spending to maintain each of their state-controlled miles. The mileage may seem longer here than in past highway reports, as this was the first year the organization started including lane-miles in their calculations. Lane-miles account for each lane of any state-controlled highway with three or more.
The total amount per mile that each state spends is broken down into color-coded sections that represent the costs that make up the total. These include administrative costs, maintenance costs, and capital and bridge costs; the final column combines the costs for highway law enforcement and safety, interest, and bond retirement.
Is this money being well spent? You may be surprised to see which states were found to have the worst road conditions while also spending the most to maintain them.
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What State Spends the Most on Their Highway System?
The state that was found to spend the most on their highway systems is New Jersey, spending $511,266 per state-controlled mile. With 9,558 miles for the state to maintain, that amounts to a whopping $4.9 billion each year!
If more than half a million dollars sounds like a lot to spend maintaining each mile of highway in the state, it is. New Jersey was found to spend more than double the amount spent in Florida, which has the second-highest cost per mile at $241,100.
The 10 States That Spend the Most per State-Controlled Mile
- New Jersey: $511,266
- Florida: $241,100
- Massachusetts: $216,066
- New York: $215,466
- Connecticut: $209,157
- Rhode Island: $194,769
- Maryland: $181,323
- Delaware: $164,801
- Illinois: $143,606
- Hawaii: $126,932
What State Spends the Least on Their Highway System?
The state that spends the least on their highway system is South Carolina, which spends just $13,255 per state-controlled mile, although it was found to have the third-most mileage to maintain in the country, with 90,164 miles. This high mileage puts the state’s total annual cost to maintain their highway systems at $1.2 billion, a quarter of the amount that New Jersey was found to spend each year.
Which States Have the Worst Roads?
With some states spending exorbitant amounts per mile, one would assume the roads in those states would be in great shape. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for some. So what are the states with the worst roads?
Even though New Jersey spends the most per mile to maintain their highway conditions, they don’t have much to show for it, as they were found to be in the top five for states with the highest percentage of mileage in poor condition. When it comes to the principle arterial mileage (PAM) in the state, 22.78% of the urban PAM and 4.38% of the rural PAM were found to be in poor condition. New Jersey just missed making it into the top five for urban interstate mileage with 9.84% in poor condition. The state was also found to have the most peak hours in congestion per auto commuter, at 70.15 hours annually.
Two other states that have less-than-ideal road conditions are Alaska and Rhode Island. Drivers in these stats have more to worry about than avoiding car accidents. Alaska was found to have the most rural interstate in poor condition, with 10.64%, and the most rural PAM in poor condition, with 21.36%. Rhode Island has the worst urban PAM in the country, with 33.03% in poor condition, and 23.36% of the state’s bridges were found to be structurally deficient.
What other states were you surprised to see have some of the worst roads in America?