We took some time in Pennsylvania to slip away from the rallies and inspect the bridges: some nice people from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation took us under the I-95 highway to see the mess the underbelly of modern America is in. It is truly horrible. There are holes you can put your hand into. As a metaphor for the whole infrastructure situation it could not be better: cars getting by on the top (with occasional delays and even a closure earlier this year) but underneath the whole thing falling apart. Over the last year or so there has been sporadic coverage of this fundamental issue though much of it not in the mainstream press. This from Thomas Friedman was an exception. Obama has talked admiringly of the Chinese approach (does he really want to steamroller the poor?) but the money is not going to be there. Nor would President McCain provide it. Perhaps this solution suggested by a Democratic governor is the most practical way forward - if, that is, the money is still there.
And a few minutes ago the organisers of this conference got in touch to point out that the infrastructure issue - in particular how to pay - is a live topic among Americans seriously committed to the future good of the nation.