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By: Alex Carrick on March 4th, 2019

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Rankings of States and Provinces by Roadwork Construction Starts

Economic News

The table and maps accompanying this article feature comparisons of highway, street and roadwork construction starts in all the states, plus District of Columbia, in two ways: (1) by dollar-volume level, taking the annual average over the past two years (2017 and 2018); and (2) per capita (i.e., the dollar volume in (1) divided by each individual state’s population).

Rankings of States and Provinces by Roadwork Construction Starts Graphic

In some states, there can be considerable variation in the dollar volume of roadwork starts from one year to the next. Therefore, it seems only fair to smooth the series out a bit, and hence the reason for utilizing a latest-two-years average.

On the left-hand side of Table 1, there is a ranking of all states and D.C. according to their level of roadwork construction starts. Sixteen states have exceeded an annual average of $1.0 billion over the past two years and they are highlighted in Map 1. Washington state, at $995 million, and New Jersey, at $980 million, just missed the cut.

Table 1: U.S. Roadwork Construction Starts
Ranking of States by 2017-2018 Annual Average Ranking of States by 2017-2018 Annual Average
Levels of Highway, Street & Roadwork Dollars of Highway, Street & Roadwork
 Construction Starts  Construction Starts Per Capita*
   
1 Texas $8,041,753,275     1 North Dakota $741
2 California $5,722,588,987     2 Alaska $526
3 Florida $3,729,082,766     3 South Dakota $444
4 New York $2,438,711,468     4 Wyoming $431
5 Pennsylvania $2,350,967,100     5 Minnesota $358
6 Illinois $2,271,898,790     6 Iowa $334
7 Ohio $2,270,383,526     7 Wisconsin $304
8 North Carolina $2,016,908,136     8 Texas $280
9 Minnesota $2,006,717,874     9 West Virginia $251
10 Georgia $1,782,739,194     10 Utah $242
11 Wisconsin $1,765,416,305     11 Montana $236
12 Virginia $1,262,820,233     12 Vermont $234
13 Arizona $1,200,301,579     13 Arkansas $227
14 Michigan $1,178,775,640     14 Hawaii $225
15 Indiana $1,137,711,303     14 Maine $225
16 Iowa $1,052,855,324     16 Rhode Island $220
17 Washington $994,610,037     17 Nebraska $206
18 New Jersey $980,354,334     18 Nevada $198
19 South Carolina $924,461,791     19 North Carolina $194
20 Missouri $859,255,063     19 Ohio $194
21 Maryland $846,006,039     21 Mississippi $184
22 Colorado $776,400,932     21 Pennsylvania $184
23 Utah $765,947,282     23 South Carolina $182
24 Tennessee $761,159,307     23 Oklahoma $182
25 Massachusetts $742,190,700     25 Illinois $178
26 Alabama $742,097,479     26 Florida $175
27 Oklahoma $716,017,982     27 Delaware $174
28 Louisiana $684,259,157     28 Indiana $170
29 Arkansas $683,093,996     29 Georgia $169
30 Kentucky $633,662,673     30 Arizona $167
31 Nevada $599,818,689     31 Idaho $159
32 North Dakota $562,916,471     31 Kansas $159
33 Mississippi $549,024,328     33 Alabama $152
34 Oregon $467,100,160     34 Virginia $148
35 Kansas $462,431,902     35 Louisiana $147
36 West Virginia $454,096,255     36 New Hampshire $146
37 Nebraska $398,204,792     37 California $145
38 South Dakota $391,481,445     38 Kentucky $142
39 Alaska $387,622,429     39 Missouri $140
40 Hawaii $320,016,248     39 Maryland $140
41 Maine $301,298,463     41 New Mexico $139
42 New Mexico $291,953,653     42 Colorado $136
43 Idaho $279,638,389     43 Washington $132
44 Connecticut $255,504,855     44 New York $125
45 Montana $251,056,538     45 Michigan $118
46 Wyoming $249,056,766     46 Tennessee $112
47 Rhode Island $232,304,985     47 Oregon $111
48 New Hampshire $198,249,520     48 New Jersey $110
49 Delaware $168,339,247     49 Massachusetts $108
50 Vermont $146,660,351     50 Connecticut $72
51 District of Columbia $37,804,615     51 District of Columbia $54
       
TOTAL U.S.  $58,343,728,360     TOTAL U.S.  $178
* Per capita measure = dollar volume divided by population in each state.
When the ranking numbers are the same, the states are tied.
Data source: ConstructConnect and Census Bureau.
Table: ConstructConnect.

There is a tight correlation between population and the dollar volume of roadwork starts. For 13 of the 16 states shown in the map, their rankings for roadwork starts are either identical with, or quite close to, their rankings according to population (calculated as of July 1, 2018). For example, Texas is number 1 for starts and number 2 for population; California is 2 for starts and 1 for population; Florida is 3 and 3; New York, 4 and 4; Pennsylvania, 5 and 5; Illinois, 6 and 6; Ohio, 7 and 7; and so on.

There are, however, three outliers. Minnesota is ninth for roadwork starts but only 22nd for population; Wisconsin is 11th for starts, but 20th for population; and Iowa is 16th for starts, but 31st for population. It might be concluded that those three states are taking their roadbuilding commitments seriously.

As for large-population states that have been bumped out of the Top 16 for roadwork starts, they all appear between positions 17 and 25 in the rankings. New Jersey is 11th for population and 18th for starts; Washington state is 13th for population and 17th for starts; and Massachusetts is 15th for population and 25th for starts.

Map 1: States with 2017-2018 Annual Average Levels of
Highway, Street & Roadwork Construction Starts
Greater than $1.0 Billion

Top 12 – Rankings of States by Industrial Sub-Sector Jobs – “Weight” Share of Total U.S. Construction Jobs Map

Data sources: ConstructConnect & Census Bureau / Map: ConstructConnect.

The right-hand side of Table 1, which provides a ranking of states and D.C. according to per capita value of roadwork starts, takes the analysis down a different pathway. The four states at the summit of the per-capita ranking – North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, and Wyoming – all have quite low resident counts. Their populations range from a high of 880,000 for South Dakota to a low of 580,000 for Wyoming.

Minnesota is the first somewhat-large-population state (5.6 million people) to appear near the top in the per-capita ranking, in spot number 5.

The four largest-population states in the country are spread far apart in the per-capita roadwork- starts ranking. Texas, at $280 per person, makes a fine showing in 8th place. Florida ($175), though, is in 26th place; California ($145) in 37th; and New York ($125), in 44th.   

Not only population level, but rate of population change seems to have a bearing on the per-capita value of roadwork construction starts. For example, among the four largest-population states, Texas and California are seeing their resident counts increase faster, +1.3% and +1.5% annually, than California and New York, +0.4% and -0.2% annually.

More population and a rising demand for housing, often in the suburbs, will drive greater infrastructure needs. Nevertheless, tying roadwork starts to population growth is not an exact fit.

What is helpful, though, is to distinguish between youthful ‘upstarts’ and older established regions. Other already built-up states in addition to New York appearing near the bottom in the roadwork starts ranking are Michigan, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Map 2: States with 2017-2018 Annual Average Highway,
Street & Roadwork Construction Starts Per Capita
Greater than Total U.S.-Wide Figure of $178

Top 12 – Rankings of States by Industrial Sub-Sector Jobs – “Weight” Share of Total U.S. Construction Jobs Map

Data sources: ConstructConnect & Census Bureau / Map: ConstructConnect.

Of course, there can be other reasons for roadwork construction to be prioritized in a specific state. A severe weather event, causing washouts, may necessitate damage repair. Or there may be instances when such construction is stimulated by a strong rural-to-urban shift.

Alternatively, in some less populated areas, large dollar spending may be required to gain access, for equipment and labor, to remote resource sites.

In today’s highly competitive world, economies everywhere are striving to deliver goods and people faster and cheaper. New and well-maintained highways and roads are a key means to achieve productivity enhancements on the logistics grid.

Canada:

In Canada, Ontario has been the leader among the provinces for latest two-year average roadwork starts, at $2.5 billion CAD. Quebec ($2.4 billion) fell short of first place by only the smallest of margins. Also, it’s worth noting that the Atlantic Region recorded a surprisingly upbeat $1.6 billion on average in 2017-2018.

Alberta ($864 million) was ahead of B.C. ($658 million), Saskatchewan ($319 million) and Manitoba ($291 million). The total Canada figure was $8.6 billion.

The Atlantic Region ($644) was the frontrunner on a per capita basis. In positions two through seven were Quebec ($289); Saskatchewan ($274); Manitoba ($215); Alberta ($201); Ontario ($172); and B.C. ($129).

As a final observation, there’s another standout number to showcase. The total Canada per capita figure was $231. Applying a 0.75 currency conversion rate, $231 CAD becomes $174 USD – which is almost exactly the same as the total U.S. per capita number of $178 USD.