“The average number of lanes per mile is 2.40 lanes, but a few states (New Jersey, Florida, California and Massachusetts) manage significantly wider roads, averaging more than 3.0 lanes per mile.” The report goes on to detail the miles, lane miles and the average number of lanes for all 50 states. These factors are then used to adjust our figures to account for wider roads in some states, like New Jersey. So if New Jersey’s big spending were resulting in smoother pavement and less traffic congestion across many lanes, the state’s overall ranking and its rankings in those individual categories would be better. Instead, New Jersey ranks 31st or worse in nine of the 11 categories, and 41st or worse in seven of 11 categories.
It is incorrect, but let’s test the claim anyway — if the spending per mile metric is punishing New Jersey for having highways that are six or eight lanes wide, as Mr. Fox alleges, then it would make sense that other states with wide highways would suffer too. But that is not the case. California, home to many of the busiest and widest highways in the country, spends $500,000 per mile. New Jersey spends four times that — $2 million per mile. New Jersey spends three times as much as Massachusetts ($675,000 per mile), three-and-a-half times more than Florida ($572,000 per mile), four times as much as New York ($462,000 per mile), and 12 times more than Texas ($157,000 per mile), which is home to six of the 20 most populous cities in America.
Wait. Why is it so much more expensive in New Jersey?
States ranked in the middle of the pack can be average across all categories, or, they overcome spending more than the national average by producing good road conditions with that spending. Wisconsin and Oklahoma, for example, both increased their spending and rocketed up 16 spots in the report’s overall rankings by using that spending to better their pavement conditions.
Meanwhile, there’s no escaping the conclusion that New Jersey spends a lot of money on its state-administered highways and delivers poor performance in return. The key question now is what will New Jersey do about it?
I disagree. With NJ roads costing 3-12 times as much, the key question should be, “Where (who) did all of the extra money go?. Is this straight up skimming by bureaucrats or is concrete really expensive ’cause you gotta buy it from Vinnie …. or else’