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Trudeau pledges $20-billion for transit over next 10 years

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau steps off a bus arriving at a campaign event at the VIVA Bus Terminal Friday, September 4, 2015 in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Justin Trudeau is promising another $20-billion for transit over the next decade, part of a broader infrastructure pledge that would push a Liberal government into deficit for the first part of its mandate.

The Liberals say they would honour existing federal transit commitments and that this additional pledge would quadruple the amount of funding available.

"Successful, confident countries invest in their own futures and build ambitiously," Mr. Trudeau said in a statement Friday. "An economy that can't move its people will never reach its full potential."

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Transit is an increasingly hot political topic in the country's largest cities, where the effect of decades of insufficient investment is being felt. As the parties roll out their transit plans, urban voters will be watching closely to see whether the bulk of the money goes to cities, where the need is greatest, or if it is spread across the country in a more populist approach.

The Conservative Party has promised to create a transit fund that will ramp up over several years to $1-billion annually and could be used to finance projects with bigger price tags. The New Democrats have pledged to spend $1.3-billion a year over the next two decades on transit.

The Liberals earlier pledged to almost double federal spending on public works – from $65-billion to $125-billion. Friday's transit promise is part of that broader commitment and means transit spending would account for about a third of the party's infrastructure plans.

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