Study: New Jersey’s highways rank last in overall performance
A new study from the Reason Foundation found that New Jersey’s highways rank last in overall performance.
The annual study by the libertarian think tank compares cost versus quality.
“The fact that there’s a lot of spending and also really poor pavement quality – that’s really the problem for New Jersey,” says the Reason Foundation’s Baruch Feigenbaum.
The Reason Foundation examined every state’s highway system in 13 different categories. This is not the first time that New Jersey has ranked last in the survey.
“Anytime the spending is high – which it is in New Jersey – it’s indicating to me the taxpayers aren’t getting the bang for the buck. And when you look at the pavement conditions, that are ranking between 36th and 46th, that’s an indication the roadway conditions are pretty poor,” Feigenbaum says.
Additionally, New Jersey was last in maintenance per mile and 45th in highway pavement conditions in urban areas. New Jersey's roads were also ranked last in previous Reason surveys examining data from 2015 and 2016.
“We don’t have anything against New Jersey. New Jersey’s situation or problem, as we would say, is that its highways are rather expensive to build and maintain. And the pavement quality is pretty poor. And so, when you put those two things together, that tends to get a very bad ranking,” Feigenbaum says.
But it is not all bad news – New Jersey has the fourth-lowest fatality rate in rural areas and the third-lowest overall fatality rate nationwide. This is partially thanks to the New Jersey Turnpike.
“The New Jersey Turnpike is considered one of the safest roads in the country, just because it’s relatively straight and because of the lane widths,” Feigenbaum says
Feigenbaum, who spent more than three months researching and writing the survey along with two colleagues, says New Jersey can learn from other states that ranked higher.
“I think there are some advantages for more of the rural states, like North Dakota. But I do think New Jersey can bring its rankings up to say, like Maryland,” Feigenbaum says.
Maryland ranked 40th, while New York ranked 44th and Pennsylvania ranked 39th.