Policy Study

New Mexico Ranks 16th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

New Mexico’s best rankings are maintenance disbursements per mile, capital and bridge disbursements per mile, and total disbursements per mile.

New Mexico’s highway system ranks 16th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a five-spot improvement from the previous report, where New Mexico ranked 21st overall.

In safety and performance categories, New Mexico ranks 41st in overall fatality rate, 20th in structurally deficient bridges, 17th in traffic congestion, 18th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 23rd in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, New Mexico ranks 16th in total spending per mile and 2nd in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, New Mexico needs to reduce its urban fatality rate, its overall fatality rate, and its administrative spending. The state ranks last in urban fatality rate, in the bottom 10 for overall fatality rate, and in the bottom 15 for administrative disbursements per mile. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds New Mexico’s overall highway performance is better than Arizona (ranks 23rd), Colorado (ranks 38th), and Texas (ranks 18th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “New Mexico is doing better than comparable states like Nevada (ranks 27th) and Utah (ranks 17th).

New Mexico’s best rankings are in maintenance disbursements per mile (1st) and capital and bridge disbursements per mile (2nd).

New Mexico’s worst rankings are urban fatality rate (50th) and overall fatality rate (41st).

New Mexico’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 11th 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.