If it is true that a civilization is measured by the quality of its roads, then we soon face a reckoning. From the Erie Canal and the Transcontinental Railroad to the New Deal, the Federal Highway Act and the Internet, the chapters of our American success story have always been written in stone and mortar, iron and steel, granite and fiber-optic cable. And if we continue to perilously ignore our infrastructure base, we risk a day — not so long in the future — when America will wake up to find itself a second-rate economic power.
Simply put, our public infrastructure is falling apart. It can barely accommodate our current transportation, health, telecommunications and energy needs, let alone the growing demands of future generations. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that we need to spend $2.2 trillion during the next five years just to bring our infrastructure up to an adequate condition. And according to the Texas Transportation Institute, tra