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Tom Mulcair unveils NDP plan to spend billions on transit, bridges

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair announced an "ambitious" transit plan to ease gridlock and build infrastructure. During a campaign event in Edmonton, Mulcair said the NDP would spend $1.3 billion a year over 20 years.

Infrastructure plan would invest $1.3B per year for 20 years

Mulcair wants to increase the money municipalities get to build bridges roads and public transit. 1:29

The NDP is promising to spend billions to ease urban gridlock and speed up commuter times.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, campaigning in Edmonton Friday, lamented a "lost decade" for transit investment under Conservative rule, and promised to undo the damage with an "ambitious" plan to build and repair roads, bridges and transit systems.

Mulcair pledged $1.3 billion in funding annually over 20 years, and another $1.5 billion in annual transfers to municipalities for four years, although he conceded that not all of that funding would be new.

He said for Edmonton, that would help build 40 kilometres of light rail transit and buy 100 train cars and 100 buses.

Mulcair promised to partner with municipalities to ensure stable, adequate funding to ease traffic congestion.

"Gridlock has a real cost in terms of lost productivity and of course there's a personal cost as well," he said. "Every minute spent commuting is time not spent with your family and friends."

All three major federal parties are in an infrastructure bidding war, each claiming to have the best plan for beleaguered cities.

The Conservatives and Liberals also have long-term municipal infrastructure money in their election platforms.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has said he would run deficits over the next three years in order to double the $65 billion in funding promised by the Conservatives. He would invest $125 billion over the next decade if elected on Oct. 19.

The NDP, which won a single seat in Alberta in the 2011 federal election, is hoping to pick off additional ridings around Edmonton on Oct. 19, following spring's surprising provincial election victory by NDP Premier Rachel Notley.

Mulcair was also in the city for a campaign rally Thursday evening.

NDP fans cheer as NDP Leader Tom Mulcair holds a rally in Edmonton, Alta. Thursday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

with files from Hannah Thibedeau and The Canadian Press

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