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Texas' state highway system 11th in nation

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TYLER (KYTX) - It's good to be a driver in Texas.

The Reason Foundation's Annual Highway Report ranked Texas' highway system 11th in the nation. Texas has been in the top 20 ever since this study began.

The rankings are based on 11 factors, including things like pavement condition, congestion, and spending.

Those with TXDoT say they're proud our system has moved up from number 13 to 11 this year.

"I think a lot of that has to do with- we have a really aggressive preventative maintenance program." says TDoT Public Information Officer Larry Krantz.

He says the department is constantly trying to improve our highway system.

"Make narrow roads wider, you know, provide engineering solutions to some of the issues that we see our on the roadway."

Shane Elmore says that makes all the difference for emergency crews in life or death situations.

"Those roads are the biggest component of that safety."

He's EMS liaison for Trinity Mother Frances.

"The roads are very important. You know, whenever someone calls 911, I mean, what they want to know is that we're going to get there, we're going to get there safe."

He says another safety component is driver cooperation. He urges people to move over whenever they hear those sirens or see flashing lights around them. After all, it is the law.

"That's the biggest thing is being aware of what's going on around you." he says.

Krantz agrees. One of the factors that keeps us down in the rankings every year is traffic deaths.

"This is one where we need motorists to work with us to, to put down the cell phone, you know, not drive while intoxicated."

He says we have about 4,000 to 5,000 traffic deaths per year in Texas.

"Which is way too much."

The second area Texas falls short is in urban traffic congestion.

"Texas is growing. And, it's growing faster than just about any other state in the nation."

But, he says all road projects require funding, and take years to develop and years to build.

Texas' spending per mile is almost 20% below average. Krantz says Texas sits at a little over $1 million per mile. Compare that to states like New Jersey, which cost about $10 million per mile.

Texas has more than 80,000 state highway miles, the second largest in the country behind North Carolina.

According to the report, the nation's best, most cost-effective highway systems are North Dakota, Kansas and Wyoming.

The worst highway systems are Alaska, Rhode Island, Hawaii and California.

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