NJ Spends $2M a Mile for Roads: Are We Getting What We Pay For?
If you drive a car in the Garden State, this may not come as a shock.
A new report by the Reason Foundation finds New Jersey has the worst, most expensive roadways in the nation.
“Most states are doing a pretty good job maintaining their highway system, spending relatively low amounts of money and getting relatively high quality," said Baruch Feigenbaum, the author of the Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report.
"However, there were about five states that stood out as not doing a very good job, and New Jersey is one of those states.”
The report finds other very low ranked states include Connecticut, Hawaii, Alaska and Rhode Island.
Overall, New Jersey is ranked as having the worst cost-effective highway system in the country.
He said one main problem is spending .
“It’s sometimes 3, 4 or 5 times the national average in terms of maintaining and building new miles or roadway, and yet the condition of its roadways — in terms of pavement quality, in terms of some of the safety aspects — are among the worst in the country.”
While West Virginia spends the least of any state, $35,047 per mile of state controlled highway, the report finds New Jersey is spending far more than any other state – an eye popping $2,069,020 per mile of state controlled highway.
In ranking the different highway systems, the report looked at categories such as the condition of road pavement, the number of deficient bridges, overall traffic congestion, fatality rates, spending per mile of state-controlled highways, and system administrative costs.
“New Jersey ranks last in total disbursements per mile. That means more than any other state. Last in capital and bridge disbursements per mile, last in maintenance disbursements per mile.”
And to make things worse, “when you look at traffic congestion, again New Jersey ranks last. Obviously, there’s going to be more traffic congestion in New Jersey than North Dakota, but we’d still like to see a ranking better than last.”
He noted New Jersey also has one of the highest number of deficient bridges of any state in the nation. But there is one bright spot.
So why is highway spending so high in New Jersey?
Feigenbaum said road work tends to be a lot more expensive in certain union states and “there’s not real good cost-benefit analysis of some of the projects being done.”
He said it’s important to note other Northeastern states like Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York “spend three times less on their projects in terms of capital projects and maintenance projects than New Jersey does. That just doesn’t make sense.”
The report finds the most cost-effective highways in the country are in North Dakota, Kansas, South Dakota, Nebraska and South Carolina.
How New Jersey ranks (50 is worst, 1 would be best) in specific categories:
- Total Disbursements Per Mile: 50
- Capital & Bridge Disbursements Per Mile: 50
- Maintenance Disbursements Per Mile: 50
- Administrative Disbursements Per Mile: 48
- Rural Interstate Pavement Condition: 31
- Rural Arterial Pavement Condition: 47
- Narrow Rural Arterial Lanes: 1
- Urban Interstate Pavement Condition: 47
- Urbanized Area Congestion: 50
- Deficient Bridges: 42
- Fatality Rates: 4