New York’s state highway system continues to rank near the bottom among all states in terms of performance and cost-effectiveness, as measured by the indicators in the Reason Foundation’s 19th Annual Highway Condition Report.

Here’s a chart of my own that summarizes the report’s key take-away:

From the Reason report:

New York ranked 46th in overall highway performance in 2008, falling one spot from 2007 when it was 45th. Its best ranking was for fatality rate (6th). Its worst ratings were for administrative disbursements per mile (49th), maintenance disbursements per mile (48th), rural narrow lanes (47th), deficient bridges (47th), rural Interstate condition (46th), total disbursements per mile (45th) and urban Interstate condition (45th).

In 2008, New York reported a sharp improvement in urban Interstate congestion, from 50.3 percent congested in 2007 to 46.0 percent congested in 2008. It also reported a sharp improvement in its rural other principal arterial condition, from 1.50 percent in poor condition in 2007 to 0.67 percent in poor condition in 2008. On the other hand it reported a significant increase in the rural narrow lanes, from 28.2 percent narrow in 2007 to 33.7 percent narrow in 2008, which may be due to remeasuring.New York also registered a sharp rise in its administrative disbursements per mile, at $89,194 per mile of responsibility in 2008, up from $20,085 per mile of responsibility in 2007.

Why do New Yorkers get such a lousy return on their oversized transportation investment?   Empire Center’s Blueprint for a Better Budget suggests the answers include costly contracting and procurement laws, as well as the staffing levels and work rules of the state Department of Transportation.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

NY’s leaky gas taxes

When motorists in New York top off their gas tanks this Labor Day weekend, they’ll be paying an average of about 45 cents per gallon in state and local fuel taxes—the 5th highest total in the nation, and second highest in the Northeast. Read More

Thruway toll credit crashes

In their budget bills, state Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans both had the good sense to reject one of the most egregious fiscal-political gimmicks ever to emerge from Governor Andrew Cuomo: a temporary income tax credit that would have reimbursed a portion of Thruway tolls paid by New York State residents and businesses. Read More

Cuomo’s magical mystery cash

So, how is Governor Andrew Cuomo paying for that $100 billion infrastructure "development initiative" that, as he put in his State of the State message yesterday, "would make Governor Rockefeller jealous"? The answer: for the most part, he actually isn't. Read More

Power for tolls?

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) could be taking the money-losing state Barge Canal off the back of the Thruway Authority under the fiscal 2017 state budget that will be proposed today by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Assuming this Buffalo News report is true, it would explain how Cuomo intends to finance his proposal to freeze Thruway tolls for five years even while building the $4.8 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement. Read More

Gone with the windfall

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for allocating $5.4 billion in windfall funds has survived, almost intact, in the agreed-upon New York State budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which starts April 1. Consistent with Cuomo’s original vision, the final plan shortchanges basic transportation and municipal infrastructure. Read More

A tangled broadband proposal

As part of his plan for allocating $5.4 billion in one-shot windfall funds, Governor Cuomo wants to spend $500 million to expand the availability and capacity of broadband Internet access across New York. But given pressing traditional infrastructure needs, should broadband rate a high priority? Do we really need it? The governor's case, on closer inspection, is less than compelling. Read More

Cuomo’s fungible windfall

Governor Cuomo repeatedly has said that the state’s unprecedented $5.4 billion cash windfall is a “one shot” that should not be spent on recurring expenses such as school aid or agency operations. Yet his proposed budget language might allow him to do just that. Read More

There goes the windfall?

One of the biggest questions heading into New York’s fiscal 2016 Executive Budget presentation was how Governor Andrew Cuomo would choose to allocate an unprecedented, one-shot $5.4 billion windfall "surplus" originating with fines and penalties collected from financial institutions. Now we have the answer: under Cuomo's proposal, less than one-third of the money—barely $1.6 billion—would be absolutely, positively committed to core transportation infrastructure purposes. The rest would go to an assortment of stuff, only some of which would fit into even an extra-broad definition of “infrastructure.” Read More

NY’s leaky gas taxes

Power for tolls?

Gone with the windfall

There goes the windfall?

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!