Kentucky roads in top 10 for quality

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2023

THE CENTER SQUARE

Kentucky earned high marks in a study released Thursday examining the conditions of roads and the cost-effectiveness of maintaining them.

The Bluegrass State came in seventh overall nationally in Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report. The study, which uses 2020 data, is based on 13 metrics, and Kentucky ranked 30th or higher in 11 of those.

The report found Kentucky was the best state regarding administrative disbursements, which covers the share of bureaucratic costs in maintaining state highways. The state’s disbursement per mile is $552, 11% of the expected cost per mile of $4,871.

Arkansas was the second most-efficient state, with its administrative costs at 19% of expectations.

With nearly 62,350 miles of highways in its system, Kentucky has the nation’s eighth-largest network of state-controlled roads.

Kentucky also came in sixth nationally regarding the condition of its urban highways. The study found that less than 3.6% of its four- to eight-lane highways are considered in poor condition. That’s compared to 14.2% nationally.

The state did rank low in two categories related to fatalities. On urban highways, Kentucky had 1.26 deaths per 100 million miles driven. That was 40th nationally and higher than the national average of 1.04.

On other roadways, including local streets, Kentucky’s rate of 2.14 deaths per 100 million miles driven was 48th nationally and ahead of only Mississippi (2.16) and West Virginia (2.28). The national average for fatalities on minor and local streets was 1.54.

“To improve in the rankings, Kentucky needs to reduce its other fatality rate and urban fatality rate,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, the report’s lead author and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation. “While it may be challenging for Kentucky to have fatality rates as low as (other states), the state can improve from its bottom 15 rankings in both categories.”

Two of Kentucky’s neighbors finished with higher rankings. Virginia was the top state in the foundation’s report, and Tennessee finished third.

Missouri just missed a top 10 listing, as it was 11th overall. Ohio came in 17th, six spots higher than Indiana. Illinois was ranked 29th, and West Virginia was 39th.

Alaska was ranked last in the study.