PAVEMENT CONDITIONS - Texas ranked 23rd among the states with 1.21% of rural interstate mileage in poor condition and 35th with 6.6% of urban interstate mileage in poor condition in 2013. Less than 1% of other Texas principal arterial road mileage was rated in poor condition.




TxDOT Ranks High in Cost Effectiveness


September 27, 2016


A new analysis of data compiled by the Federal Highway Administration shows that the Texas Department of Transportation is near the top of state highway agencies in terms of low administrative costs and cost effectiveness.


That is a key finding of the Reason Foundation's 22nd Annual Highway Report rating the nation's 50 state transportation departments and their highway systems.  The report is based on 2013 data, the latest available.


Texas, with 80,490 miles of state-controlled highway miles, has the largest system in the nation.  Among the 15 largest states in terms of population, Texas ranked Number 2 in lowest overall administrative cost per system mile.  Florida, New York, California, Arizona, Massachusetts and New Jersey each had administrative costs per mile at least five times higher than those rung up by TxDOT that year.

TxDOT has gone through reorganization and a reduction in personnel in recent years.  The agency will be asking the Legislature for authority to add several hundred additional project managers, construction inspectors and job coordinators to help manage additional projects that will be made possible over the next few years by voter passage of Proposition 1 and Proposition 7.  Those measure will make $2.5 to $3.0 billion a year in additional funding available for road projects.


In the Reason Foundation analysis, Texas did not do as well in overall rankings because of its lower spending per mile and highway conditions that are the result of rapid population growth and aging highways.  Texas ranked Number 19 in overall performance based on 11 categories including highway spending, pavement and bridge conditions, traffic congestion and fatality rates.  Of the 15 largest population states only Ohio (ranked 9th) and North Carolina (15th) came in with better overall scores than Texas.  Florida (32nd), California (42nd) and New York (45th) ranked in the lower half of all states.  The highest ranks went to South Carolina, South Dakota and Kansas.
The report said the numbers show a widening performance gap emerging.  Most states are making some small progress with their state highway systems but a group of states are struggling and failing to improve.

Nationally, pavement conditions in several categories worsened slightly, with the amount of urban Interstate pavement, rural Interstate pavement and rural arterial pavement in poor condition all increasing marginally. The Annual Highway Report finds that some of the nation’s worst highway problems are concentrated in a few states. For example, almost half, 48 percent, of the country’s urban Interstate pavement in poor condition can be found in just five states: Texas, California, Louisiana, Michigan and New York.  Likewise, half of the rural Interstate pavement in poor condition can be found in five states:   Alaska, California, Colorado, Indiana and Washington.

On the positive side, the percentage of deficient bridges across the country are decreasing. However, six states — Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island — report that more than one-third of their bridges are still deficient or functionally obsolete.


Reducing traffic fatalities has been a long-term success story and just four states — Montana, Mississippi, South Carolina and West Virginia — reported fatality rates greater than 1.5 per 100 million vehicle-miles traveled.  The 2013 fatality rate in Texas was 1.38 per 100 million vehicle-miles.  Texas had one of the nation's highest fatality rates coming in at 39th among the 50 states.

Due to changes in the Federal Highway Administration’s reporting methods, traffic congestion figures in the new report aren’t comparable to previous editions. Reason Foundation’s latest Annual Highway Report finds commuters in more than 40 states, including such unexpected places such as Idaho and North Dakota, now waste at least 20 hours a year stuck in traffic.  Texas had the 9th highest congestion rate with commuters spending 49.6 hours a year stuck in traffic.


Drivers in more than 20 states suffer annual congestion delays of at least 40 hours per year, meaning they lose the equivalent of a full workweek each year to traffic jams. And traffic congestion is so bad in eight states — California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Washington — that it causes over 50 hours of delay annually per auto commuter in those states.