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Canadian cities say federal funding of transportation and other infrastructure is needed to prevent a crisis. (CBC)

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says Canada's municipalities are heading for an infrastructure crisis unless the federal government steps up and commits to a massive 20-year funding program.

Robertson was speaking at the release of a new report by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Vancouver on Tuesday.

The cities are asking Ottawa to boost infrastructure funding by $2.5 billion a year in order to keep Canada competitive.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says that would bring the total to $5.75 billion a year from the federal government — funds that should be matched by the provinces and municipalities themselves.

The federation says $1 billion of it should be dedicated to fighting gridlock that it says costs the Canadian economy $10 billion a year in lost productivity.

The current federal funding regime ends in 2014 and the Conservative government is working on a new plan.

The federation would like a 20-year plan that would give cities some stability for planning to repair and replace crumbling infrastructure built many decades ago.

They say Canada is losing ground to global competitors and must address the aging physicial structure that is a fact of life in most cities.