Policy Study

Virginia Ranks 21st in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Virginia’s best rankings are rural Interstate pavement condition, rural arterial pavement condition, and urban fatality rate.

Virginia’s highway system ranks 21st in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a 19-spot decline from the previous report, where Virginia ranked 2nd overall, as the state declined in most categories, with a notable 20-spot drop in total disbursements per mile. Virginia’s ranking last year may have been an aberration as the state ranked 27th the year prior.

In safety and performance categories, Virginia ranks 17th in overall fatality rate, 13th in structurally deficient bridges, 44th in traffic congestion, 21st in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 4th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Virginia ranks 32nd in total spending per mile and 17th in capital and bridge costs per mile.

“To improve in the rankings, Virginia needs to reduce its traffic congestion. Virginia ranks in the bottom 10 states for congestion and has three of the most congested Interstate corridors in the country. Compared to neighboring states, the report finds Virginia’s overall highway performance is better than Maryland (ranks 41st) and West Virginia (ranks 33rd), but worse than Tennessee (7th),” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Virginia is doing better than some comparable states like Georgia (ranks 26th), but worse than others like North Carolina (ranks 14th).”

Virginia’s best rankings are rural Interstate pavement condition (4th) and rural arterial pavement condition (5th).

Virginia’s worst rankings are urbanized area congestion (44th) and maintenance disbursements per mile (36th).

Virginia’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 3rd 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.