The Journal Gazette
Saturday, November 27, 2021 1:00 am

Furthermore ... (weekend on the road edition)

Both safety, geography belie Indiana's 'Crossroads' claim

EDITORIAL BOARD | The Journal Gazette

Indiana, the self-described “Crossroads of America,” doesn't fare particularly well in a new assessment of cost-effective highway systems.

The state ranks 32nd overall in a new report from the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank. Its 26th Annual Highway Report measures and ranks state-controlled highway systems based on road condition and cost effectiveness in 13 categories, including deficient bridges, traffic fatalities, congestion and spending per mile.

The state's best score is for rural arterial pavement condition, where it ranks 15th. Indiana is ranked 44th for rural interstate pavement condition; 42nd for maintenance disbursement per mile.

Which states score best on highway measures? Neighboring Kentucky is fourth best in the nation, while North Dakota, Virginia and Missouri fill the top three spots. 

Interestingly, Missouri could rightfully lay claim to Indiana's “Crossroads” title. New figures from the decennial census show a spot about 15 miles from Hartville, Missouri, is the center of population for the United States, based on the nation's 2020 population of 331.4 million.

According to the Census Bureau, the location is the point “where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if everyone were of identical weight. This point represents the average location of where people in the United States live.”

The nation's center of population was located in Indiana from 1890 to 1940, moving across the southern part of the state from 20 miles east of Columbus to 2 miles southeast of Carlisle,  in Sullivan County.

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