A new study ranks Nebraska’s highway system as one of the most efficient and cost-effective in the country.
David Hartgen, lead author of the study from the Reason Foundation, says the annual report places Nebraska 4th overall among the 50 states for factors like pavement condition, traffic jams, traffic deaths, deficient bridges and spending per mile.
“Nebraska has a pretty good system and they’re doing so with a relatively thin budget,” Hartgen says. “It’s a large system, over 10,000 miles, but if you look at the resources they have available, that is, the money they have to spend on it, they actually have about half of what the average state has for a system that size.”
The study finds South Carolina, South Dakota and Kansas have the nation’s most cost-effective state highway systems, while Alaska ranked last, just ahead of New Jersey and Hawaii.
Nebraska’s 4th-place ranking is a drop from 2nd last year, though he says the Husker State is still doing exceptionally well.
“We ranked them easily in the top 20 for the condition of the interstate system,” Hartgen says. “In fact, we rated them 18th on the urban interstate condition and tied for 1st with a number of other states on the rural interstate conditions.”
Nebraska’s worst rankings are in fatality rates, where the state placed 30th, and also ranked 26th for deficient bridges. Traffic congestion can be a significant factor in some more populous states, but for Nebraska, that’s a much lesser issue.
“Nebraska has no very large cities but of course they have some congestion in their urban areas so we ranked them 10th there,” Hartgen says. “They also scored well on the percentage of roads with narrow lanes. They don’t have too much of that. That’s good for safety reasons.”
This is the 22nd Annual Highway Report published by the Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank that has advised four presidential administrations on transportation and infrastructure issues.