Despite the 2017 I-85 bridge collapse that threw Atlanta into a two-month traffic nightmare — or the massive sinkholes that have erupted around town — Georgia infrastructure is actually among the very best in the nation.
That’s according to researchers over at 24/7 Wall Street, who created an index using the share of potentially hazardous bridges, roads or dams to identify which states fare worst of all when it comes to infrastructure.
After Florida, Georgia ranked second best.
The state boasts the third lowest state highway spending per driver ($254), the fifth lowest percentage of roads in poor condition (1.9 percent) and seventh lowest share of deficient bridges (4.7 percent. Approximately 11 percent of the state’s dams are at high hazard risk, the 15th lowest share in the country.
Compare that to Rhode Island and you may breathe a sigh of relief:
- Roads in poor condition: 24.6 percent
- Deficient bridges: 23.3 percent
- Dams at high hazard risk: 42.3 percent
- State highway spending per driver: $408
“The condition of a given state’s infrastructure is contingent on a number of factors, including weather,” researchers wrote. “When asphalt freezes and thaws, it can crack and begin to crumble, losing its integrity.”
That means states with cold and harsh winters — Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Alaska and New Jersey — are more prone to having poor road conditions.
But the most significant factor, according to the analysis, is the system or structure’s age. With much of the country’s infrastructure developed more than a century ago, it’s no surprise a handful of regions are vulnerable.
“It’s hurting our economy, it’s hurting our communities’ ability to grow, it’s hurting our quality of life, and in some cases, there are public safety concerns,” Kristina Swallow, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, said in the report. “Our infrastructure is not meeting our needs.”
According to Swallow, it’ll take investing in federal, state and local levels to repair the country’s damaged infrastructure.
“In Georgia today, using a federal dollar to build, instead of a state or local dollar can delay a project by more than four years,” Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall wrote in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution following President Donald Trump’s infrastructure proposal release. “What we are striving for is a new paradigm on how we spend transportation dollars. This plan refocuses federal attention on large federal priorities and seeks to move the federal government out of the way so that our highly capable state and local officials can deliver state and local projects.”
The five states falling apart the most, according to 24/7 Wall Street:
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
And the five with America’s best infrastructure: