Reason to be Concerned About State of Wisconsin Highways

The Reason Foundation is out with their 18th annual Highway Report, which looks at the cost and quality of state-owned highways across the country.

The study finds over half of all state-owned highways across the country are congested and 25 percent of bridges are deficient or functionally obsolete.

Since 1984, per-mile total disbursements on state highways have increased by 262 percent. In 2007, U.S. states spent over $109 billion on state-owned highways, a 10 percent increase over 2006. But not everyone is getting their money’s worth. Taxpayers in New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island and Alaska have the worst-performing highway systems in the nation.

The Reason Foundation study examines state highway systems in 11 categories, including congestion, pavement condition, fatalities, deficient bridges and total spending. The annual report is based on information that each state reported for the year 2007

How did Wisconsin fare?

At first blush, we appear to be in the middle of the pack. We rank 21st in efficiency and cost effectiveness.

But note, we fell considerably between 2000 and 2007.  Yet another ranking where we are headed in the wrong direction.

Moreover, we are one of only ten states whose highways are worsening despite the state spending more than the national average on its roads.

With the continuing raids on the transportation fund and the emergency (and temporary) patch work of the zoo interchange, expect Wisconsin’s rankings to plunge even further when Reason conducts their next report in 2010.

A mixed-bag, but getting worse. Could be Wisconsin’s motto for so many areas, not just state highways.

Add this to the “Legacy of Jim Doyle” file.

By Brian Fraley
A MacIver Perspective