MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Conditions on Alabama's highways declined dramatically from 2000 to 2005, with Alabama dropping from 11th to 43rd in an annual analysis of states' highway systems.
Alabama's fall was the sharpest of any state during the five-year period covered by the report funded by Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank.
Researchers said Alabama's decline stemmed from worsening conditions on the state's urban and rural interstate highways, traffic congestion on Birmingham's urban interstates, and a higher-than-average fatality rate.
Officials at the state Transportation Department take exception to the report, noting that conditions and state funding vary from state to state.
The annual study, in its 16th year, ranked highway systems based on data from 1984 through 2005.
Overall, it ranked North Dakota's highways the best and New Jersey's the worst. Among Alabama's neighbors, Georgia ranked sixth overall, Tennessee 20th, Mississippi 25th and Florida 41st.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)