This blog post was written by Stuart Robertson, one of the partners in Kensington Swan’s construction team.
A Washington DC think tank, Reason Foundation, has released its latest annual report on the cost-effectiveness and performance of US state, as opposed to local, roading infrastructure. Unfortunately for the Aloha State, its overall rating was 48th out of 50. Allowing for metric and currency adjustments, Hawaii’s 1,600 km of state roading (the smallest of any state) costs NZ$54,356 per kilometre to maintain annually, and the overall costs per kilometre of NZ$347,011. Even with this extraordinarily high spend, more than 31% of the urban pavement is in a poor condition, the worst of any state in the US.
Commentators have pointed out that a large proportion of the overall cost is debt incurred by the Department of Transport funding various past projects. It also has to be recognised that with any island state, most of the materials and expertise has to be imported. There are a number of South Pacific islands who suffer from similar issues. Hawaii, however, is one of the most taxed states in the US, and despite an engineering study and report in 2008 on how to improve the roading infrastructure, the recommendations were not adopted. This has changed in the last few months with one of the preventative maintenance measures being adopted.
New Zealand can be very proud of the quality of its national roading infrastructure.