CO ranks among top 10 worst road systems

Roadway funding is increasing, even as rural roads further decline.

Roadway funding is increasing, even as rural roads further decline.

By Calvin Thompson | Colorado Watchdog

A comprehensive study of the nation’s roadways put Colorado in the worst rankings for effective road systems.

The Reason Foundation released its “20th Annual Highway Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems,” on Tuesday. According to the study, Colorado’s highways rank among the 10 worst in the nation in terms of overall performance and cost effectiveness.

In 2009, the most recent year available, Colorado had the 41st best road system. Colorado’s roadways have declined with remarkable speed. Just four years before its rating of 41, it scored 29, placing it solidly in the middle of the states.

According to the study, Colorado’s sharp decline into poor road conditions comes even as the state has spent increasing amounts on its road systems. In 2008, Colorado spent more than $23,000 per mile of roadways on repair, and more than $86,000 per mile on bridge repair.

As with other issues in Colorado, it was the neglecting of rural areas that led to the poor score. According to the study, the state’s roadway spending “increased but there was a large increase (4.1 percentage points) in the percentage of poor-condition rural interstates.”

Almost two thirds of the poor-condition roadways nationwide come from just five states, and Colorado is among them.

Colorado Watchdog previously reported that several bridges and roads across the state remain in poor condition, even as funds are being diverted to public transit projects.

Email Calvin Thompson at calvin@coloradowatchdog.org. Follow him on Twitter at @watchdogco.

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