Study: California Drops to 45th Nation in Highway Conditions

November 24, 2021

A new study out ranks California’s highway system 45th in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition.

The Annual Highway Report published by Reason Foundation is a two-spot drop from 43rd overall in the previous report.

This is in part because California is now 25th or worse in all of the Annual Highway Report’s 13 categories, the authors say.

In safety and performance categories, California’s highways rank 49th in urban arterial pavement condition, 44th in urban Interstate pavement condition, 43rd in traffic congestion, 40th in rural Interstate pavement condition, 25th in overall highway fatality rate, and 25th in structurally deficient bridges, according to the report.

California’s state-controlled highway mileage makes it the 9th largest highway system in the country. The state’s drivers waste 14.75 hours a year in traffic congestion, the report shows.

In the overall performance rankings, the report ranks California behind comparable states like Texas (16th overall) and Florida (41st), but it is ahead of New York (46th) and New Jersey (last 50th).

“To improve in the report’s overall rankings, California needs its spending to translate into better road and pavement quality. For example, the state is among the highest spending per mile but still ranks among the worst nationally in three of the report’s pavement condition categories,” stated Baruch Feigenbaum, lead author of the Annual Highway Report and senior managing director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation.

Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report measures the condition and cost-effectiveness of state-controlled highways in 13 categories, including pavement and bridge conditions, traffic fatalities and spending per mile. The report’s data is primarily from 2019.