Reason Foundation Ranks Idaho Road Network Among Top 10 In U.S.

Feb 8, 2018

The Reason Foundation think tank ranks Idaho seventh in the nation overall for its roadway network. As the map reveals, many rural states with lower population densities fare well in the study. Idaho's neighbors Montana and Wyoming rank sixth and eighth, respectively.

The Reason Foundation is out with its annual Highway Report. It finds Idaho is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to cost effectiveness and highway performance.

The report from the Los Angeles-based, libertarian think tank evaluates how well states operate their roadway networks by evaluating 11 categories. Using data from the Federal Highway Administration, it looks at everything from pavement conditions in rural areas to how much is spent by the state per mile. Idaho ranks number seven in the nation.

“Seventh means that Idaho is in the top 10 states in terms of spending relatively little money and having a high quality network,” says Baruch Feigenbaum, the author of the study and assistant director of transportation policy at the foundation. “That’s a good thing. One of the reasons that Idaho ranks so well is, first of all, it has no rankings in the bottom ten.”

In categories like deficient bridges, urban area congestion and administrative disbursements, the Gem State is among the top 20 states.

While many in Idaho consistently call for more transportation funding, the state ranks highly for the amount it spends on its roadways.

“What the state is doing is it’s spending its existing money effectively,” Feigenbaum says. “Generally, states that do the best are states that spend relatively small amounts of money building and maintaining their roadway systems.”

According to Feigenbaum, one of the most troubling rankings is Idaho’s fatality rate at 36. He chalks that up to people speeding on long stretches of highway and getting into more severe crashes.

The entire Reason Foundation Highway Report can be viewed here.

For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio