Former TTC chair Adam Giambrone tapped to lead New York City streetcar project

Former Toronto politician Adam Giambrone, who has been working as a transit consultant since leaving elected office, has been appointed director of a new transit project in New York City.

One-time councillor and mayoral candidate to spearhead push for new transit proposal

Adam Giambrone, shown here in a file photo from 2013, has been asked to lead the charge for a new streetcar project in New York City. (CBC)

Former Toronto politician Adam Giambrone has been appointed director of a new transit project in New York City. The project, called the BQX (Brooklyn Queens Connector) is a plan for a roughly 26-kilometre streetcar route that would run along the waterfront connecting those boroughs.

The project is still in its infancy: funding for construction, which is estimated at $2.5 billion US, has not yet been secured, nor has the BQX been through the official approval process. Generating public support for the streetcar — which would be the first built in New York City in about 70 years — is Giambrone's primary task.

Giambrone declined to speak with CBC News, but New York city hall spokesman Austin Finan said that "having someone with hands-on experience from North America's largest streetcar system will be valuable as we undertake the project." 

Giambrone​ represented Ward 18 (Davenport) from 2003 to 2010, and served as chair of the TTC from 2006-2010. Along with then-mayor David Miller, he spearheaded a plan to build a network of streetcars in Toronto called Transit City. A few elements of that plan remain, but when Rob Ford was elected mayor in 2010 it was largely on the strength of his opposition to Transit City, most of which has been scrapped.

Giambrone ran a short-lived campaign for mayor in 2010, ending his run after 10 days when news surfaced of sexual relationships with women other than his live-in partner. They subsequently reconciled, and Giambrone has been working as a transit consultant for cities including Montreal and Milwaukee since leaving elected office.