Policy Study

Texas Ranks 18th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Texas’ best rankings are in structurally deficient bridges, rural arterial pavement condition, and administrative disbursements per mile.

Texas’ highway system ranks 18th 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 Texas ranked 23rd overall.

In safety and performance categories, Texas ranks 34th in overall fatality rate, 1st in structurally deficient bridges, 41st in traffic congestion, 28th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 15th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Texas ranks 28th in total spending per mile and 30th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Texas needs to reduce its traffic congestion. Texas ranks in the bottom 10 states for traffic congestion with three of the most congested Interstate corridors in the country. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Texas’ overall highway performance is better than Louisiana (ranks 31st) and Oklahoma (ranks 34th), but worse than New Mexico (ranks 16th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Texas is doing better than some comparable states like California (ranks 43rd), but worse than others like Montana (ranks 10th).”

Texas’ best rankings are structurally deficient bridges (1st), rural arterial pavement condition (10th), and administrative disbursements per mile (10th).

Texas’ worst rankings are in traffic congestion (41st), urban fatality rate (40th), and urban arterial pavement condition (40th).

Texas’ state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 2nd 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.