One of the most important components of every state government is its commitment to road and bridge infrastructure. The road and bridge infrastructure keeps this vast country connected and allows trade routes to boost our economy
But not each of those infrastructures is equal. Furthermore, not every state is as committed to road and bridge infrastructure as others. Many states have seen their road and bridge infrastructure decline in recent decades, while others reinforce existing infrastructure.
Here are a few of the states with the best and worst transportation infrastructure in the U.S.
States with the Best Road and Bridge Infrastructure
Spending the national average for state roads, Nevada wins the title of the state with the best road and bridge infrastructure in the United States. The percentage of structurally deficient road and bridges in Nevada are both some of lowest in the nation. According to USA Today in 2019, just 1.3 percent of Nevada’s roads were in poor condition, third-lowest. Only 1.4 percent of the state’s bridges were structurally deficient, second-lowest among states. Of course, Nevada’s status as a thinly-populated state heavily attributes to the quality of road condition.
Listed in the top three states with the best infrastructure is Tennessee. As one of the few states where less than 5 percent of their roads are in poor condition, Tennessee actually spends less than the national average in road maintenance. Tennessee was ranked second among states in road quality and eighth in bridge infrastructure quality by U.S. News.
As such, some researchers such as MoneyGeek pose the theory that there is no direct correlation between the money states spend and road conditions.
Following in Tennessee’s footsteps is the state of Florida. Less than 10 percent of Florida roads are in poor condition. Like Tennessee, Florida spends less than the national average on transportation infrastructure. U.S. News ranked the sunshine state seventh in road quality and third in bridge infrastructure quality.
A big contributor to this is the weather climate in the south. Unlike northern states, Florida endures very little cold weather and there is no salting of roads to affect them.
States with the Worst Road and Bridge Infrastructure
1. Rhode Island
Rhode Island is ranked second in population per capita in the United States among states. Maybe that’s why it ranks as the top state with the worst road and bridge infrastructure. Roughly 53 percent of roads and 23 percent of bridges are considered deficient in Rhode Island, which means they could be unsafe for many motorists. U.S. News ranked Rhode Island 49th in road quality and dead last in bridge quality.
Constant use of state roads by the dense population contributes to the deteriorating roads. In addition, Rhode Island spends less money than most states on public infrastructure.
2. New Jersey
Despite spending 57 percent of their budget on highway repairs, New Jersey is still considered one of the worst states in road and bridge infrastructure. New Jersey has the fourth-highest percentage of roads in poor condition, and the third-highest travel time to work, at 32 minutes. Similar to Rhode Island, it is believed that New Jersey’s dense population and congested roads are the main reasons behind its declining infrastructure.
It’s not surprising that California appears in the list of states with the worst road infrastructure. As the most populated state in our country, it makes sense that its congested roads are deteriorating quickly. Almost 45 percent of California’s roads rate as in poor condition. They are 48th in road condition in the United States., with 16.9 percent of roads in poor condition. However, the state does get a tick up in its bridge infrastructure, coming in at 19th according to U.S. News.
Why does Bridge Infrastructure Matter?
Each state chooses a specific amount to allocate towards road and bridge infrastructure. However, many components can affect this number. On average, states spend about eight percent of their budget on road repairs and infrastructure. The money for this is levied from tolls and gas tax. That being said, 2020’s national shutdown due to COVID-19 created a significant dent in states’ reservoir as individuals began working from home.
Infrastructure affects things like our economy and public safety. The worse a state’s road infrastructure, the more likely for drivers on the road. State governments intend for roads and bridges to be a reliable and safe transportation network. However, a study by MoneyGeek revealed that state funds are allocated towards maintaining, and often not improving deteriorating roads.
Build with U.S. Bridge
At U.S. Bridge, we pride ourselves on building bridges and adding to infrastructure that will last for decades. We understand the importance of our country’s infrastructure. That’s why we contribute sustainable solutions to America’s infrastructure. We manufacture, engineer and build bridges to withhold time, weather, and sustain the everyday toll of traffic.