These systems are under the control of mayors and governors — not presidents, senators or members of Congress. More than two-thirds of the funds spent on transportation come from states and localities, not from the federal government. And with today’s current emphasis on cutting the federal deficit, states will need to do more since the federal government is clearly in retreat, at home and overseas.

It is not sufficient to have a smartphone or an iPad if we do not have resilient, robust networks that can function when we need them most, like in a disaster. It is not sufficient to have a home, if there is no power to run appliances and water to drink and cook with. And, what good is a job if you cannot get to work — whether by car, train, bus or plane?

New York has a subway system that is more than a century old. Our nation’s airports control our airspace with obsolete technologies, needlessly adding to delays and pollution. And our commuter railroads rely on railroad bridges that are well beyond their shelf life.