Here is a case study of old crumbling dams. If they break down, then the flooding will start. A similar issue arises for our rundown highways and bridges. This friday I will be at Brookings for a conference on state and local investment choices. My paper with David Levinson focuses on how to encourage states to direct more resources to investing in road and bridge maintenance. When I was in Beijing in fall 2009, I was struck by how new and shiny were their airport, highways and their subway system. Thomas Friedman writes pieces contrasting JFK airport with its counterparts in developing countries. We can agree that our infrastructure needs a “makeover” but who pays for it? How much will the makeover cost? How much safer will be from such a makeover? Is our “old infrastructure” a cause or an effect of our nation’s current malaise?