This spring the American Society of Civil Engineers issued its annual report card on the nation's infrastructure, and the grades are not encouraging. Population growth has resulted in overcrowded schools. Local political opposition and bureaucracy block much-needed road, bridge, and power-plant construction. Water purification systems are showing signs of age. And anyone who has traveled by plane recently knows that the nation's airports are having a tough time accommodating 700 million passengers a year. According to the society, the price tag for bringing the nation's infrastructure in line with the population's expanding needs comes to $1.3 trillion dollars over the next five years, nearly as much as the Department of Defense is scheduled to spend in that time.