Top States for Business

These 5 crumbling states have the worst infrastructure in America

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

America's infrastructure is a mess. And with the Trump administration and Congress unable to fast-forward a bipartisan plan to address the issue, things are only getting worse. According to the 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers report card, published every four years, the U.S. needs to spend some $4.5 trillion by 2025 to fix the country's roads, bridges, dams and other infrastructure. Yet some states are in much rougher shape than others, putting them at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting business and jobs.

Which airports are getting upgrades?
Which airports are getting upgrades?

Infrastructure is one of the 10 categories of competitiveness in CNBC's annual America's Top States for Business rankings. We use government data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Census Bureau and the Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate each state's roads, bridges, railways, waterways, ports, airports and utilities, as well as the size of the population within a day's drive.

Some states are weathering the storm quite nicely, but these five states are the most in need of an infrastructure overhaul.

5. Alaska

A vehicle lies stranded on a collapsed roadway near the airport after an earthquake in Anchorage.
Nathaniel Wilder | Reuters

Alaskans enjoy some of the fastest commuting times in the nation, at just under 19 minutes door-to-door on average. But many of them commute by boat, plane or snowmobile in a state that truly is the Last Frontier. In a state with brutal climate extremes and frequent earthquakes, the roads and bridges in Alaska are among the worst in the nation. The state's remoteness means it probably never will be a logistics hub.

2019 Infrastructure score: 128 out of 350 points (Top States grade: D-)
US population within 500 miles: 639,966
Average commute to work: 18.8 minutes (U.S. Average: 26.4 minutes)
Bridges in poor condition: 9.7%
Roads in unacceptable condition: 29%
20-year water-system needs: $986.5 million

4. Maine

Air traffic controllers work in the control tower at Portland International Jetport
Derek Davis | Portland Press Herald | Getty Images

What else would you suspect in the state that is said to have originated the phrase "You can't get there from here"? Roads and bridges are in terrible shape. Maine's busiest airport serves only about 20 destinations, none of them international. About 2 million passengers used Portland International Jetport last year. That is about 2% of the traffic at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International.

2019 Infrastructure score: 125 out of 350 points (Top States grade: F)
US population within 500 miles: 49,364,126
Average commute to work: 23.8 minutes
Bridges in poor condition: 13.1%
Roads in unacceptable condition: 13%
20-year water-system needs: $1.35 billion

3. Massachusetts

Vehicles merge into heavy traffic on Route 93 southbound in Boston
Stan Grossfeld | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Massachusetts is only the 15th largest U.S. state by population, but commuting times in the Bay State are the fourth longest. That may have something to do with the fact that the state's roads and bridges are among the worst in the country. Massachusetts is one of the nation's oldest states, joining the union on Feb. 6, 1788. Sometimes it feels like parts of the infrastructure have been around at least that long.

2019 Infrastructure score: 123 out of 350 points (Top States grade: F)
US population within 500 miles: 70,633,434
Average commute to work: 29.3 minutes
Bridges in poor condition: 9.2%
Roads in unacceptable condition: 37.5%
20-year water-system needs: $12.24 billion

2. Hawaii

Lava advances along a street near a fissure in Leilani Estates, on Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone, Hawaii.
U.S. Geological Survey | Reuters

In many respects, the Aloha State simply does not lend itself to the standard ways to evaluate infrastructure. The state cannot do anything about the fact that it is an island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean without easy access to other population centers. It has no rail network to speak of, and it is not a major cargo hub. But in the areas that the state can control, such as road and bridge maintenance, Hawaii's infrastructure leaves much to be desired.

2019 Infrastructure score: 107 out of 350 points (Top States grade: F)
US population within 500 miles: 1,261,190
Average commute to work: 27.4 minutes
Bridges in poor condition: 6.9%
Roads in unacceptable condition: 44%
20-year water-system needs: $1.15 billion

1. Rhode Island

Crews closed down Interstate 95 in Warwick, Rhode Island, to clear floodwaters.

It is not that the leadership in the Ocean State does not know there is a problem. It is just that the RhodeWorks program championed by Gov. Gina Raimondo, passed in 2016, needs some time to work. The program revolves around truck tolls on Interstate 95 to fund badly needed road and bridge repairs. The first tolls went into effect just last year, which means revenue barely has begun to flow in. So for the time being, motorists in Rhode Island will continue to deal with the bumpy status quo. Earlier this year, the law that established the tolls survived a court challenge by the trucking industry. Barring further appeals, the plan to once and for all fix Rhode Island's infrastructure may finally be on track.

2019 Infrastructure score: 98 out of 350 points (Top States grade: F)
US population within 500 miles: 70,218,706
Average commute to work: 24.6 minutes
Bridges in poor condition: 23.1%
Roads in unacceptable condition: 51%
20-year water-system needs: $833 million