A recent report ranks Utah's state road system as 25th in the nation for cost-effectiveness and overall performance.

The Reason Foundation released its 17th annual report on the state of states' transportation systems July 31. The study measures effectiveness and performance of all the states in 12 categories, including road congestion, bridge condition, pavement condition, maintenance costs, administrative costs as well as traffic fatalities.

The best overall state was North Dakota, while the worst was a state with one of the smallest highway systems, New Jersey.

Utah's urban interstates are 46.5 percent congested, whereas Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming suffer no reported congestion. California's were crammed, with more than 83 percent of their urban interstates filled with vehicles.

Kentucky had the least amount of money per mile of administrative costs at $1,132. Utah spent $22,123, while New Jersey forked over $71,720 per mile of administrative costs.

Total spending on state roads was lowest in West Virginia at $32,699 per mile, while New Jersey shelled out $1,839,188 per mile of state roads. Utah spent $165,792 per mile in total disbursements on state roads.

Many states reported no roughness on their rural interstates (most states measure condition of roads using a special machine though some still eyeball the condition of the roadway). However, New Hampshire reports 23.33 percent of its rural interstates are rough, and Utahns drive on rural interstates that are 1.66 percent rough.

Hawaii's drivers have the roughest urban interstates at 26.53 percent. Utah has a measly 2.30 percent rough urban interstates, while eight states tie for No. 1 with smooth cruising on urban interstates with no roughness.

Utah's deficient bridges measure at 16.37 percent, more than what Utah Department of Transportation reported at a June legislative interim transportation committee, which placed the number at 6 percent. UDOT spokesman Nile Easton explained that 6 percent are structurally deficient and 10 percent are functionally obsolete. The report combines the two figures. More than half of the bridges in Rhode Island are deficient, a marked difference to Nevada, which has little less than 4 percent deficient.

Highway deaths were lowest in Massachusetts and highest in Montana. Utah was number 11 on the list for road fatalities.

The Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation has measured and reported on the nation's state-owned roads from 1984 to 2006. It is a nonprofit group focusing on education and research.


E-mail: lwilde@desnews.com