Policy Study

Vermont Ranks 13th in the Nation in Highway Performance and Cost-Effectiveness

Vermont’s highway system ranks 13th in the nation in overall cost- effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report by Reason Foundation. This is a 17-spot improvement from the previous report, where Vermont ranked 30th.

Vermont ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in administrative disbursements per mile. Vermont spends $13,545 per lane–mile, ranking 45th nationally. The state spends 10 times more than peer state Maine’s $1,304 per lane-mile. Vermont also exceeds peer state New Hampshire’s $12,990 per lane-mile.

In safety and performance categories, Vermont ranks 3rd in overall fatality rate, 5th in structurally deficient bridges, 14th in traffic congestion, 7th in urban Interstate pavement condition, and 7th in rural Interstate pavement condition.

Vermont spends $78,883 per mile of state-controlled road. Vermont is 25th in total spending per mile and 21st in capital and bridge costs per mile.

Vermont’s best rankings are in urban fatality rate (1st) and rural fatality rate (2nd).

Vermont’s worst rankings are in administrative disbursements per mile (45th) and rural arterial pavement condition (36th).

Vermont commuters spend 6.23 hours stuck in traffic congestion, ranking 14th nationally.

Vermont’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 48th largest highway system in the country.

“To improve in the rankings, Vermont should try to reduce its administrative disbursements per mile. The state ranks in the bottom 10 of all states in administrative disbursements per mile. The state lags its peer states in this ranking,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “Vermont’s ranking rose 17 places from the previous version of this report as the state made major gains in rural arterial pavement quality, urban arterial pavement quality, urbanized area congestion, overall fatality rate, and rural fatality rate.”

Additional Analysis

Compared to nearby states, Vermont’s overall highway performance is better than Connecticut (ranks 31st), Massachusetts (ranks 43rd), and New York (ranks 46th).

Vermont is doing better than comparable states like New Hampshire (ranks 19th) and Maine (ranks 33rd).

Vermont is another state with above average disbursements that ranks in the top 15 because it has very good pavement and bridge quality. While maintenance and administrative disbursements both rank in the bottom 20, Vermont ranks in the top 15 in eight of the nine performance categories. Fatality rates are a particular strength of the system. Vermont’s average fatality rank of two is the highest of any state in the country. If Vermont is able to reduce its administrative disbursements even somewhat, the state may move into the top 10.

Vermont is one of six states that improved in the rankings by 10 or more spots from the previous report. Wyoming, Virginia, Georgia, Utah, and New Hampshire are the others.
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.