A sound infrastructure is critical to attracting business, and in the recently released Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report researchers found that the most cost-effective US highways are in South Carolina, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and Maine.

The worst performing and least cost-effective highway systems are in Alaska, New Jersey, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

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The report ranked South Carolina and Alabama as the country's top-performing states overall, but noted that these are largely rural states with limited traffic congestion. States with large urban areas that ranked highly are Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas.

Researchers concluded that terrain, climate, geography, truck traffic volume, urbanisation, highway system age, long-term maintenance prioritisation, budget priorities, unit cost differences, overall state budget circumstances and management philosophies also affect overall performance.

The Reason Foundation used 11 categories to track state-owned highway system performance for the report, among them highway spending, pavement and bridge condition, traffic congestion, fatality rates and spending and performance data.