Policy Study

Connecticut Ranks 31st in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Connecticut’s highway system ranks 31th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a four-spot improvement from 35th in the previous report.

Connecticut ranks in the bottom 15 in overall disbursements, capital and bridge disbursements, maintenance disbursements, and rural arterial pavement quality. But Connecticut ranks ahead of peer states New Jersey and Rhode Island in all four of these categories.

In safety and performance categories, Connecticut ranks 9th in overall fatality rate, 22nd in structurally deficient bridges, 33rd in traffic congestion, 5th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 1st in rural Interstate pavement condition.

On spending, Connecticut spends $205,802 per state-controlled mile of highway. It ranks 43rd in total spending per mile and 43rd in capital and bridge costs per mile.

Connecticut’s best rankings are in rural Interstate pavement condition (1st) and rural fatality rate (3rd).

Connecticut’s worst rankings are in total disbursements per mile (43rd) and capital and bridge disbursements per mile (43rd).

Connecticut’s drivers waste 14.75 hours a year in traffic congestion, ranking 33rdin the nation.

Connecticut’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 44th largest highway system in the country.

“To continue to improve in the report’s overall rankings, Connecticut needs to have its high spending translate into better overall condition of its arterial system. The state ranks in the bottom 20 in both rural arterial pavement quality and urban arterial pavement quality,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Connecticut’s costs while high are lower than its peer states.”

Additional Analysis

Compared to nearby states, Connecticut’s overall highway performance is better than New York (ranks 46th) and Massachusetts (ranks 43rd) but worse than New Hampshire (ranks 19th).

Connecticut is doing better than other comparable states, like New Jersey (ranks 50th) and Rhode Island (ranks 49th).

While Connecticut only ranks 31st, that ranking is relatively high for a small-in-geographic- size northeastern state. What is Connecticut doing right? Connecticut’s Interstates have fantastic pavement condition and all three of the state’s fatality ratings are low. The state still has room for improvement; the arterial pavement is in generally poor condition and the percentage of structurally deficient bridges could be lowered. Connecticut does spend a lot for its roadway system. But it has a generally high-quality system.

Connecticut is one of nine states that spend $200,000 per lane-mile or more on total expenditures. The others are New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Rhode Island, Maryland, California, and Washington.
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, total) per mile.