You probably think that a person from any U.S. state with say that they have the worst roads. Aside from crazy drivers and constant stop-and-go traffic, many people get frustrated by the physical condition of the roads in their area. Pavement can be broken and cracked and potholes can pop up anywhere without warning. Sometimes roads can be so bumpy and uneven, you think your tire will pop off.
It is estimated that driving on roads in poor conditions costs motorists around $120 billion in vehicle repairs and operating costs - about $533 per driver.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), about 61% of the country’s highways are in fair to poor condition. Maintaining and improving road quality is a matter of priority and delegation of capital. An estimated $231 billion is spent every year to maintain our existing roadwork, but many people feel that the upkeep on their roads is not adequate. Taxpayer-funded highway capital is often spent on highway expansion rather than on the maintenance of roads. Taxpayer-funded highway capital is not enough to cover necessary repairs.
The nation’s infrastructure is a relatively common topic in political campaigns, especially in terms of better roads, funding, and creating jobs from infrastructure projects. A post-COVID-19 relief bill was in discussion in the U.S. government. According to the Brookings Institution, an infrastructure stimulus following COVID-19 could result in the creation of about 13,000 jobs per $1 billion spent on highway infrastructure. About 64% of those jobs would be concentrated around the nation’s 100 largest metro areas.
Overall, the United States’ infrastructure isn’t in great shape. However, like with most things, not all states are created equal. QuoteWizard an auto insurance tool created by Lending Tree analyzed federal highway data to determine where infrastructure was in the worst condition, the number of bridges that were deemed “structurally deficient,” and how much the state spends on road repairs.
1. Rhode Island
Rhode Island has the worst roads in the United States. About 53% of Rhode Islands’s roads are in poor condition and 23% of its bridges are structurally deficient. About 2% of the state’s spending is on road repairs. Rhode Island’s poor road conditions cost each motorist about $823, the third-highest in the country.
Oklahoma has the second-worst roads in the U.S., with about 33% being in poor condition. Additionally, 14% of Oklahoma’s 23,100 bridges are structurally deficient. About 27% of state spending is on road repair; however, Oklahoma has the highest cost per motorist for poor roads at $900.
Despite spending 19% of its spending on road repairs, West Virginia has 31% of roads in poor condition and 19% of bridges are structurally deficient. The poor road conditions cost each motorist about $723 per year.
Around 30% of Mississippi roads are in poor conditions and 11% of Mississippi bridges are structurally deficient. Only 4% of spending in Mississippi goes towards road repairs, ultimately costing each motorist $820, the fourth-highest in the country.
Pennsylvania has the ninth-highest number of bridges of any U.S. state, at 22,800, 18% of which are structurally deficient. About 30% of Pennsylvania roads are in poor condition. The cost per motorist is $610.
6. New Jersey
It’s no surprise that the country’s most densely populated state has some road trouble. 34% of New Jersey roads are in poor condition and 8% of bridges are in poor condition. This is despite 57% of spending going towards road repairs. New Jersey’s road conditions cost each motorist around $703.
Around 45% of California’s roads are in poor condition, the second-highest percentage behind only Rhode Island. Around 6% of California’s bridges are structurally deficient. About 35% of spending is on road repairs, but the state’s poor road conditions cost each motorist $862, the second-highest cost per motorist in the country.
About 23% of Missouri’s roads are in poor condition and 12% of the state’s 24,500 bridges are structurally deficient. Missouri spends 20% of its spending on road repairs. The cost per motorist as a result of the poor road conditions is $699.
Louisiana spends 22% of its spending on road repairs. 25% of the state’s roads are in poor condition and 14% of bridges are structurally deficient. The cost per motorist is $624.
10. New Mexico
New Mexico has the tenth-worst roads in the U.S. 31% of roads are in poor condition and 6% of bridges are structurally deficient. About 39% of spending goes towards road repairs. The cost per motorist in New Mexico is the fifth-highest in the country at $768.