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

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