Policy Study

Mississippi Ranks 25th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Mississippi’s best rankings are in urban fatality rate, maintenance disbursements per mile and urban area congestion.

Mississippi’s highway system ranks 25th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a 14-spot increase from the previous report, where Mississippi ranked 11th overall, as rural Interstate pavement condition declined and the number of structurally deficient bridges increased substantially.

In safety and performance categories, Mississippi ranks 49th in overall fatality rate, 39th in structurally deficient bridges, 12th in traffic congestion, 37th in urban Interstate pavement condition and 38th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Mississippi ranks 9th in total spending per mile and 15th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Mississippi needs to decrease its overall fatality rate and its rural fatality rate. Mississippi is in the bottom five for overall fatality rate and for rural fatality rate. Compared to nearby states, the report finds Mississippi’s overall highway performance is better than Arkansas (ranks 32nd) but worse than Tennessee (ranks 7th) and Texas (ranks 23rd),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway
Report and assistant director of transportation at Reason Foundation. “Mississippi is doing better than some comparable states such as Louisiana (ranks 34th) but worse than other comparable states such as Alabama (ranks 10th).”

Mississippi’s best rankings are in urban fatality rate (1st) and maintenance disbursements per mile (4th).

Mississippi’s worst rankings are in overall fatality rate (49th) and rural fatality rate (46th).

Mississippi’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 26th largest highway system in the country.

The Annual Highway Report is based on spending and performance data submitted by state highway agencies to the federal government for 2016 as well as urban congestion data from INRIX and bridge condition data from the Better Roads inventory for 2017. For more details on the calculation of each of the 13 performance measures used in the report, as well as the overall performance measure, please refer to the appendix in the main report. The report’s dataset includes Interstate, federal and state roads but not county or local roads. All rankings are based on performance measures that are ratios rather than absolute values: the financial measures are disbursements per mile, the fatality rate is fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles of travel, the urban congestion measure is the annual delay per auto commuter, and the others are percentages. For example, the state ranking 1st in structurally deficient bridges has the smallest percentage of structurally deficient bridges, not the smallest number of structurally deficient bridges.