Policy Study

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

Maine’s best rankings are in urban fatality rate, urban Interstate pavement condition, and administrative disbursements per mile.

Maine’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 21-spot decline from the previous report, where Maine ranked 4th overall, as the state saw a decline in rural pavement condition and an increase in congestion. Maine’s previous ranking (using 2016 data) may have been an aberration as several years ago it ranked 23rd (using 2015 data).

In safety and performance categories, Maine ranks 11th in overall fatality rate, 45th in structurally deficient bridges, 33rd in traffic congestion, 4th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 28th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Maine ranks 24th in total spending per mile and 20th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Maine needs to reduce its percentage of structurally deficient bridges and improve its rural arterial pavement condition. Maine is in the bottom 10 for both categories. Compared to nearby states, the report finds Maine’s overall highway performance is better than Connecticut (ranks 35th), New York (ranks 44th), and Massachusetts (ranks 47th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Maine is doing better than comparable states like New Hampshire (ranks 29th) and Vermont (ranks 30th).”

Maine’s best rankings are urban fatality rate (1st) and urban Interstate pavement condition (4th).

Maine’s worst rankings are in rural arterial pavement condition (47th) and structurally deficient bridges (45th).

Maine’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 36th 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.