This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 7, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Well, from ramping up spending there to a bit push for a lot more of it here.
My next guest says that's exactly what we need to do to get the economy going. The Democratic mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, wants Congress to approve more infrastructure spending.
Mayor Chris Coleman joins me right now.
Mayor, given the dicey track record on such spending here and everywhere, what makes you think doing more of it is going to be the charm?
CHRIS COLEMAN (D), MAYOR OF SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA: Well, I don’t think it's been a dicey track record at all.
I think it's been a pretty proven record of success for decades in this country. It's been a bipartisan effort.
CAVUTO: Have you seen our growth, Mayor? Have you seen our growth? It is barely growth at all.
COLEMAN: Well, what I've seen are critical infrastructure projects that have allowed our businesses and corporations to move goods more efficiently, quicker, for people to get in and out of airports, the basic infrastructure that's critically important for people to get to work, to get to school, and for our economies to grow.
And if you don't invest in this kind of infrastructure, it's going to hamper our companies, it's going to hamper our citizens, and it's going to make it very, very difficult for us to do the basic things that cities and townships all across America need to keep on moving forward.
CAVUTO: Well, that's assuming the money we committed to infrastructure spending, if that's what you believe, Mayor, has even been finished or completed, the roads and the bridges and everything else, the airports, everything is up to speed and running again. I don’t think it is yet.
CAVUTO: But, secondly, you are talking about spending money we don’t have.
COLEMAN: Well, listen, first of all, I think that you can come to the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and see very clearly where infrastructure spending has made a huge difference.
We're in the middle of a light-rail construction project that will connect downtown Saint Paul to downtown Minneapolis, connect the University of Minnesota, one of the largest universities in the country, The State Capitol Complex and over 13 different medical centers along that line, critical for students, critical for employees at those hospitals, critical for commerce to move.
You can go to the 35W Bridge that collapsed and killed 13 people. And not only was it a tragic loss of life and the dozens, if not hundreds of families whose lives were changed forever, but that affected our business community. It made it very difficult to move through this area. It made it difficult to transport goods from one part of the Twin Cities to another.
CAVUTO: You might be right. On a certain measure, it improves just people getting around and all that. But I just look at the aggregate national numbers.
And I think, for all the money we've invested, the trillions when you think of stimulus and some of these other rescues, the bottom line is that we are just off a period where we had a surprisingly weak employment report, factory orders are now going in reverse, housing isn’t budging, retail sales are slowing.
If this is what we get spending over $1 trillion, Mayor, what would we get if we didn't invest that at all?
COLEMAN: Well, first of all, if you didn’t invest that at all, you would have our ports across the country, including a port on the Mississippi River in the city of Saint Paul, shutting down because they wouldn’t be able to continue operations.
And you would shut down all the businesses that were dependent upon those ports and dependent upon barge traffic on the Mississippi River. If we’re not fixing our locks and dams systems, if we’re not fixing our airport system, it makes it very, very difficult. In the city -- in the state of Minnesota...
CAVUTO: We don’t have money, Mayor. I guess the part...
CAVUTO: You talk about strategic investment and where...
COLEMAN: We do have...
CAVUTO: No, we don’t. We don’t. We don’t.
COLEMAN: Well, Neil, I disagree.
COLEMAN: Neil, I disagree.
CAVUTO: We have over a $1 trillion deficit.
CAVUTO: We are piling them up to the point of having more that we owe than what we make in this country. That is a global first.