TTC chair Karen Stintz has had a tough sell convincing Mayor Rob Ford about the benefits of streetcars but Cincinnati wanted to hear her pitch.
Stintz accepted an invitation to speak to Cincinnati politicians, who are looking at rising costs for that city’s streetcar project.
“I told them about the number of Torontonians who rely on the streetcars every day and how our downtown has benefitted from development because of streetcars,” Stintz said Tuesday after returning from her one-day trip.
“We have a vibrant downtown core, which is one of the goals they’re trying to achieve because their downtown is not redeveloped. I was able to demonstrate how streetcars enhanced development along routes like King St., Queen St., Bathurst.”
Stintz said her trip was fully paid by Cincinnati, who wanted to hear from her because Toronto has the largest network in North America.
“They wanted to have the benefit of our experience because we are leaders in streetcars in North America. They wanted the best in class to be before their city council so they invited me to come and represent Toronto on this matter. I was proud to be there.”
“They paid for the trip. They paid for my plane ticket, they paid for my hotel, they picked me up from the airport.”
Stintz has clashed with Ford, who doesn’t like streetcars. The mayor’s brother, Doug Ford, has said appointing her to lead the TTC was a big mistake.
Meanwhile, Ford’s opposition to streetcars has spread as far as Arlington, Virginia, where he was quoted by a local politician during discussion of a streetcar proposal there.
“I hate those damn streetcars — they are a pain in the rear end,” Ford was quoted as saying in a newspaper article cited at an April 23 meeting to discuss the proposal.
According to a news report, the Virginia politicians were told that Ford is “somewhat alone” in opposing streetcars.