Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Kansas is near the top of another list of the nation's best highways.
The latest high ranking comes from the Reason Foundation, a Libertarian think tank, which has Kansas at No. 2 -- behind North Dakota -- on its annual ranking of state highways.
Truckers and travelers agree Kansas belongs near the top.
"For what I've been on today, they're No. 1," said Amy Hurst of Mulhall, Okla.
Hurst, who was headed through Kansas with her family on the way to Mount Rushmore to celebrate Independence Day, was not surprised to learn Kansas ranked high for the quality of its highways.
"So far, so good," she said of her drive through Kansas, while stopped at the Newell Travel Center in Newton. "They're actually better maintained than Oklahoma's highways."
The Reason Foundation's 20th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems ranked Kansas' highways second best in the nation in overall performance and cost effectiveness.
Those who use the highways the most say Kansas roads stand out from highways in other states.
"(They are) a lot better than Arkansas and Missouri," said Ken Maier, a truck driver from Branson, Mo. "They're good roads."
"In Ohio, they've got a lot of little 'bump-bump, bump-bump, bump-bump,'" said Fort Myers, Fl., trucker Thomas Lester. "They've got some good highways here."
Lester said when his route takes him across Kansas, he knows it is going to be a smooth haul across the state. That's something truckers are relieved to encounter, he said.
"A truck rides rougher than a car and we feel every bump," Lester said.
The quality of Kansas highways are what truckers enjoy about the state.
"(They are) smoother and wider," Maier said. "(They've) got better shoulders."
Kansas' T-WORKS program, a 10-year program to fund preservation and improvements also was mentioned by the Reason Foundation. Its report said Kansas spending on highways is still 24 percent less than the national average per mile.
When the T-WORKS program was passed, its supporters said it was about much more than making sure Kansas had smooth highways. They said having a solid transportation infrastructure is a vital component of the state's economy.