Report: State#039;s highway system #8216;deteriorating#039;

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 1, 2007

Alabama's state highway system is one of the worst in the nation, according to a report released by the Reason Foundation this week.

The report is based on 2005 data. The state ranked 11th in 2000 and 42nd in 2004.

In subcategories, Alabama scored best on maintenance disbursements per mile (16th) and narrow rural primary arterials (19th). Its lowest ratings were for urban interstate in poor condition (49th), rural interstate in poor condition (48th), and fatality rate (40th).

&#8220The state's (Alabama) system is deteriorating,” said the report.

The Reason Foundation study measures the performance of state-owned roads and highways from 1984 to 2005 in 12 different categories, including traffic fatalities, congestion, pavement condition, bridge condition, highway maintenance and administrative costs, to determine each state's ranking and cost-effectiveness.

The bottom 10 includes: Delaware, Florida, Michigan, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Rhode Island, New York, Alaska, and New Jersey, along with Alabama.

In the overall rankings, North Dakota and South Carolina took the top spots for the second consecutive year.

New Jersey's gridlocked highways, poor pavement conditions and high repair costs put the state last in overall cost-effectiveness for the eighth consecutive year.

The study does find some good news for drivers. The percentage of roads in &#8220poor condition” fell sharply for both interstate highways and major rural roads. Since 1998, the percentage of poor urban interstate mileage has been reduced by 31 percent. The number of bridges deemed deficient, meaning they are eligible for federal repair dollars, also fell slightly in 2005. – Staff