The Romans built bridges, temples and viaducts that could still be used thousands of years after construction. Throughout Europe and China are infrastructures that have withstood fires, wars, wear and tear and are still serving a purpose. While in America, our interstate highways built less than 60 years ago are falling apart. City buildings, built perhaps 100 years ago, are dilapidated, obsolete and ready to be torn down. Our utility pipelines are rotting in the ground while we pay a fortune to maintain them, and insurers pay claims when they explode.

There are two ways to deal with infrastructure. First, build solidly so that it will last forever. We rarely do that. The second is to build it quickly and get it into use, then add to it as demand increases until the whole thing is worn out and blows up, falls apart or becomes an eyesore and is replaced. For public property, that expense is paid through taxes. For individuals, maintenance comes from wallets — providing there is anything in them besides credit cards — and occasionally from insurance when things not maintained burst.

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