Yesterday Peter Whoriskey of the WPost detailed the weaknesses in the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee in Florida. If the dike failed, as might happen if a major hurricane hit the region, the lake would flood the surrounding area, affecting about 40,000 residents.

I have spotted a few of these kind of stories in the news, focusing on a specific region or area and the problems with dikes or levees designed to prevent catatrosphic flooding. But when do the media and advocates re-define these isolated features into a larger national problem that requires national legislation and funding?

I am reminded a few years back of the media reports of bridges collapsing, killing motorists as they traveled across the spans. Eventually these isolated incidents were redefined as a critical national problem by advocates and the media, prompting state and national funding for massive bridge repair projects.