Hurricane Katrina, the Interstate 35 W bridge collapse in Minneapolis and numerous other smaller disastrous in recent years should have provided all the evidence required to prove that U.S. infrastructure is in a state of advanced decay. Two years ago, there was widespread optimism that the new president not only understood the importance of embarking upon an immediate, widespread national structural remodeling job — and that he had the political support to begin immediately.

Things change and things stay the same. Congress has changed, with a these days fixation on deficit reduction and health-care rollbacks. We're still stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan, hemorrhaging money, with no clear exit strategy. And the sorry condition of our roads, bridges, rail networks, water- and wastewater-treatment systems is worse than ever.

We've lost our way and we're going in the wrong direction, says Edward Rendell, the outgoing governor of Pennsylvania. He sat down for an interview with New Yorker writer George Packer to talk about what's wrong with U.S. infrastructure, how and why it got that way and what to do to fix it. Here's an extraordinary 23-minute interview: