Building and maintaining infrastructure costs a lot of money. This is why governments are necessary in order to build a lot of it – nobody else has sufficient money and sufficient incentive to spend that money on a public good. The US is in the position of needing to spend a substantial amount of money each year in order to keep its infrastructure repaired – and the alternative to paying a substantial amount now is to pay a much larger amount when things start to break. We’ve already reached that point with some of our infrastructure; other systems are on the decline, and can be salvaged if we get to them in time. Getting to a solid B+ instead of our current D+ level on our nation’s infrastructure is going to take hundreds of billions, and quite possibly trillions, of dollars over the next decade. On the other hand, not doing it will cost far more than that.
The problem with this is that governments never have enough cash to go around, particularly in an environment in which organized opposition to taxation is one of the most potent political forces in a polarized political system. Getting all of the necessary governments and agencies at all levels to make room in their budgets to properly maintain, rebuild, and expand our infrastructure where necessary will be a monumental task. What’s worse, it’s a fight that won’t have to be fought and won just once – we need to keep funding our infrastructure, so that we don’t end up in this exact same mess in another few decades.