California's Flood-Control Challenge

For reinforcement of vulnerable levees, the governor has won approval for billions in public financing. Will it be enough to avert an infrastructure breakdown?

Since the I-35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River on Aug. 1, killing at least five people, politicians at every level of government have refocused attention on how to adequately maintain the infrastructure that supports the nation's $13 trillion economy. While inspectors fanned out to reexamine 750 bridges of similar design, the Senate passed a long-stalled bill the next evening creating a commission to assess the condition of the nation's infrastructure to judge which portions needed the promptest repairs.

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