To listen to Joe Biden lecture on the importance of infrastructure in America is to feel a bit like you’re being personally scolded. Which may in fact be what we need in a country where politicians can't figure out how to save the Highway Trust Fund, where many voters can't fathom kicking in more to repair our roads or expand mass transit.

"It is just not acceptable that the greatest nation in the world does not have — across the board — the single most sophisticated infrastructure in the entire world," Biden said Tuesday in a speech at the Post's America Answers conference on transportation. "It is not acceptable."

A famously avid Amtrak rider, Biden sounds like he's disappointed in all of us that we've settled for low-speed rail, that we've let our airports fall out of date, that we've lost the edge America had when it built massive cross-country rail and highway systems. His voice rises like an angry dad. He reminds us that the U.S. found a way to invest in big transportation projects in the past even when it felt like we didn't have the money. We long had the most innovative, forward-thinking transportation in the world, he says. "Until recently. Until recently."

The tone — more harsh reality check than pep talk — is probably appropriate for our current gridlock on the topic. It's true that the American Society of Civil Engineers has given our infrastructure a D+. And it's true that Congress so far hasn't been able to come up with more than stopgap bills to keep the Highway Trust Fund afloat.

For the full Biden experience, here's a clip from his talk Tuesday, sounding very, very disappointed in the state of our ports, and New York's LaGuardia Airport in particular:

Vice President Biden speaks about the state of transportation and infrastructure at The Post's Fix My Commute live event. (Meena Ganesan/Washington Post Live)