I don't think there could be a longer title for the recently released report, FINAL REPORT: Bolstering Critical Infrastructure Resilience After Superstorm Sandy: Lessons for New York and the Nation, that looks at critical infrastructure and comes to conclusions that have impact, not just for New York, but for the nation as a whole.
If you don't read anything else, take the time to read the executive summary. Critical infrastructure carries the lifeblood of our nation and our individual communities. We continue to act as though these roads, pipelines, harbors, etc., will last forever with no intervention by us to maintain them. "Maintenance" is a dirty word because it adds no capacity and only adds to the cost of operating facilities.
Appropriately, the report calls attention to the fact that we are standing on the shoulders of previous generations that built out the infrastructures we use every day. Our role is to care for them and build upon them. Yes, it will take tax dollars to do so. It is not true that you can get something for nothing. Disasters have a way of exposing the fact that the emperor has no clothes.
One last note, the report calls out the fact that there is little understanding of the interdependencies that exist between infrastructures. This is one of the priority items that my parent organization, the Center for Regional Disaster Resilience, has been working on since 2001.