If you have a hole in your roof, you can either pay to fix it or avoid the repair bill and hope it doesn’t rain.

But you know in your heart that it’s going to rain some day.

This is the situation in which Maine finds itself as its bridges continue to weaken with age. According to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, 34 percent of state bridges subject to federal inspections are deficient, and Maine would need to spend $1.3 billion over the next decade to bring them up to standard.

This problem was powerfully illustrated by last month’s tropical storm, which dumped enough water on central Maine to cause the collapse of two bridges in the Carrabassett Valley. State Sen. Bill Diamond, the senior Democrat on the Transportation Committee, said the twin collapse should be a warning about what could happen if the backlog of bridge repairs is not addressed.

But Republican lawmakers and senior officials in the state Department of Transportation are acting as if there is nothing to worry about.

“It was a natural disaster. It was a hurricane,” said Rep. Richard Cebra, co-chairman of the Transportation Committee, as if Maine cannot prepare for natural disasters.

But it can. And it should.

Maine is left with a legacy of misguided cost avoidance in its crumbling roads and bridges, which we all end up paying for in the form of car repairs, impeded truck commerce and shortened tourist visits. And as the Carabassett Valley bridge collapses show, people’s lives are also at risk.

Gov. Paul LePage successfully argued this year against issuing bonds to finance infrastructure repairs no matter how badly they are needed. But that should not be Maine’s long-term strategy. When the Legislature reconvenes next year, all options for making road improvements — including bonding and raising the gas tax — should be on the table.

We can’t afford to be like the home- owner who fails to fix his roof and hopes it doesn’t rain.

We know more storms are coming, and even if they are not as strong as Tropical Storm Irene, they will be capable of causing serious damage if we are not prepared. Putting off this kind of spending will not save us anything.