Report finds Kentucky ranks among the nation’s best highway systems
A recent study by a free-market think tank found Kentucky’s highway system ranks among the nation’s best in terms of road condition and cost-effectiveness.
The Reason Foundation scored Kentucky as the fourth-best state in its Annual Highway Report, which relied on 2019 and 2020 data across 13 categories. It’s the second consecutive year the state was ranked fourth in the foundation’s report.
Kentucky has the eighth-largest network of state-controlled highways in terms of mileage, according to the report. However, the state spends $36,205 per mile on the roads in the system, which is the 12th-most among states.
The state ranked in the top 10 in four categories, including a top ranking for administrative disbursements per mile. According to the report, those disbursements include general office expenses from highway funds.
The report found the $510 disbursement per lane mile and $654 disbursement per vehicle mile traveled were well below the national averages of $6,443 and $4,154, respectively.
Other high rankings included the pavement condition of both urban four-to-eight lane (sixth ranked) and rural two-to-four lane (ninth ranked) highways. Kentucky also ranked seventh for capital and bridge disbursements per mile.
The lone blemish for Kentucky in the report was its No. 47 ranking for fatality rate. The state’s 1.48 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled were nearly three-times as high as Massachusetts’ 0.51 national-best rate.
The foundation said if Kentucky could reduce its fatality rate, it would be a contender for the top spot in the national rankings.
“While it may be challenging for Kentucky to have a fatality rate as low as Massachusetts, the state can improve from its current bottom five ranking,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, the senior managing director of transportation policy for the Reason Foundation and the lead author for the report.
Among neighboring states, only second-ranked Virginia and third-ranked Missouri placed ahead of Kentucky.
Tennessee ranked 10th nationally, with Ohio (24th), West Virginia (30th), Indiana (32nd) and Illinois (40th) further down the list.
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