Dec 21, 2021 - Business

Colorado's highway system ranks poorly, but more cash is on the way

Highway system performance rankings
Data: Reason Foundation; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

Colorado's highway system just can't catch a break.

What's happening: It ranked 37th in the nation for overall condition and cost-effectiveness, according to the latest annual report from the Reason Foundation, a libertarian organization.

  • It's an improvement of one place from the previous year, but one worse than in 2016.

Why it matters: Colorado lawmakers began pumping millions of dollars more into the state's transportation system in recent years, but not enough to make a dent in the rankings.

What they found: "Colorado ranks poorly, not because it is worst in any one category. Rather the state ranks middle to poor in most every category," the report found.

  • The lowest scores came in pavement quality; Colorado is one of three states with its rural interstate system showing poor condition.
  • The other came in structurally deficient bridges.

The other side: Colorado Department of Transportation officials took issue with the report's analysis of outdated pavement data from 2018 and 2019 that excludes recent improvements.

  • This is particularly the case with rural areas, agency spokesperson Matt Inzeo said, pointing to $330 million in projects in the works as part of a 10-year plan.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.

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