Policy Study

Kentucky Ranks 4th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Kentucky’s best rankings are in administrative disbursements per mile, rural arterial pavement condition, total disbursements per mile, and capital and bridge disbursements per mile.

Kentucky’s highway system ranks 4th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a one-spot improvement from the previous report, where Kentucky ranked 5th overall.

In safety and performance categories, Kentucky ranks 45th in overall fatality rate, 25th in structurally deficient bridges, 13th in traffic congestion, 19th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 17th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Kentucky ranks 10th in total spending per mile and 10th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Kentucky needs to improve its fatality rate. Kentucky is in the bottom 20 of all states for its overall and urban fatality rates. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Kentucky’s overall highway performance is better than Indiana (ranks 32nd), Ohio (ranks 13th), and Virginia (ranks 21st),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Kentucky is roughly equivalent to comparable states like Missouri (ranks 2nd) and Tennessee (ranks 7th).”

Kentucky’s best rankings are in administrative disbursements per mile (1st), rural arterial pavement condition (10th), total disbursements per mile (10th), and capital and bridge disbursements per mile (10th).

Kentucky’s worst rankings are in its overall fatality rate (45th) and urban fatality rate (34th).

Kentucky’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 9th largest highway system in the country.

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, overall) per mile.

The Annual Highway Report is based on spending and performance data submitted by state highway agencies to the federal government for 2018 as well as urban congestion data from INRIX and bridge condition data from the Better Roads inventory for 2019.