As we've written before the nation is rapidly heading towards a crisis in lacking infrastructure funding and specifically to the nationwide trucking industry some huge shortfalls in highway spending. Like many other metrics however not all states are equal with the potential for issues looming much larger in some states than others.

What the first graphic below demonstrates are the percentage spending changes in highway funding per state from 2008 to 2013. While there are a handful of net spending increases most notably in the Northeast the vast majority of the country shows results in the negative displayed as orange (tan) or red below. All of this against a backdrop of more vehicles both commercial and private plus more freight than ever being moved by truck putting more and more pressure on a network that was already under pressure,

Hot shot trucking funding by state

it doesn't make for an encouraging read but below are the ten states with the lowest federal highway spending per capita along with their 2008 ranking for the same formula. In each case and for many of the states further down the list the shortfall in funds will either be made up in state road and vehicle taxes, by private investment and tolls or in many cases projects will simply be delayed or a band-aid approach taken to repairing the most obvious needs as and when they occur.

  1. Massachusetts: With 2013 spending per capita at $92 the commonwealth easily tops the list after ranking third in 2008. The 13th most populated state is a vital part of the economy of the region.   
  2. Florida: 2013 spending per capita at $96 sees the state remaining in second place as it was in 2008. A major trucking center and also the 4th highest population of any state.
  3. Maryland: 2013 spending per capita was $99 compared with $113 in 2008 when it ranked fifth, although a small state is has a lot of commercial traffic and is an important traffic corridor between major cities.
  4. California: 2013 spending per capita at $99 versus $111 five years earlier keeping California in 4th. The state boasts the highest population in the country in addition to the 2nd highest total miles of paved roads behind only Texas. 
  5. Washington: 2013 spending per capita at $101 was a huge fall from $124 in 2008 which in turn saw the state rise from eleventh place up to fifth.  
  6. New York: 2013 spending per capita at $102 for the 3rd most populous state which includes our largest city. However this was an improvement from $92 and a previous rank of first. 
  7. Michigan: 2013 spending per capita at $106 was another cut from $114 in 2008. The heart of our automotive industry not to mention a population of almost 10 million which is the 9th highest in the land. 
  8. Colorado: 2013 spending per capita at $109 down from $119 five years earlier saw the booming state rise from ninth to eighth on the list. 
  9. Utah: 2013 spending per capita at $109 showed a major fall from $122 in 2008 helping the state move up one place to ninth in our list of underfunded states. 
  10. Illinois: 2013 spending per capita at $109 for the Land of Lincoln. The Chicago area is often seen as the true hub of national trucking but the state still saw a $9 drop from 2008 when it ranked seventh.

What you'll certainly notice among the ten states listed that many based purely on population, manufacturing and consumption are vital contributors to the economy of the nation with a greater than average reliance on urgent freight and interstate trucking. Just last week in California a proposed 'quality of life' tax was being discussed to help tackle road funding shortages rather than call it what it is - a road tax that is not currently providing appropriate levels of funding.  

Hot shot trucking federal spending

Incidentally some states are receiving higher funding in relative terms (or perhaps we should call it appropriate funding). The top five in 2013 were; Alaska $739 per capita, Wyoming $455, Montana $432 North Dakota $370 and Vermont $365. What is apparent is that there is a large discrepancy in federal funding for state highway improvements when some states are receiving two, three or more than four times the funding per capita as others. Perhaps finding a formula to even that out to some extent would be a good starting point?

The entire table of data can be viewed at who I would like to thank for the source material for today's piece. 

SOURCES: Population figures for 2003 and 2008 from U.S. Census Bureau's "intercensal estimates of the resident population" for April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2010.

Population figures for 2013 from U.S. Census Bureau's "annual estimates of the resident population" for April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014.

Highway spending figures from the Federal Highway Administration's annual highway statistics, Table FE-221, "Comparison of Federal Highway Trust Fund Account Receipts Attributable to the States and Federal-Aid Apportionments and Allocations from the Highway Account.


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