Karen Stintz defends transit record on Metro Morning
Says plan to sell stake in Toronto Hydro will bring funding partners to the table
Coun. Karen Stintz touted her record as TTC chair and defended herself against accusations that she's switched positions on key issues during an interview on Metro Morning Thursday.
Stintz, a three-time councillor, spent much of the interview talking about transit, saying service at the TTC has improved since her appointment as TTC chair in 2010.
"We've done a lot of things to improve the TTC," Stintz told host Matt Galloway. She cited as examples new subway cars, streetcars and buses, the addition of WiFi in some stations and improvements on sharing information with passengers.
Galloway asked Stintz about the crowding passengers on the system endure, particularly during rush hour on the subway and on the King Street streetcar and the Dufferin bus.
"We've had record ridership," said Stintz. "The current system was built for a city of 1.5 million people and now we're 2.7 [million]."
"We're looking at ways to improve on King. We're introducing larger buses on Dufferin."
Stintz was also asked about a plan she put forward calling on the city to sell a majority stake in Toronto Hydro to raise money needed for transit improvements, such as a new north-south subway line. Stintz said the move would encourage other partners, such as senior levels of government, to contribute to transit.
"We're much more successful in getting those provincial and federal dollars when we have a stake in the game. That's how we built the Yonge-University-Spadina line ... and that's how we're going to build the downtown relief line. If we don't put something on the table, it will be that much harder to convince our partners to build that relief line."
Galloway asked Stintz about her change of position on the Scarborough subway extension. Stintz was originally in favour of light rail along the route then shifted her support to subways, which council supported last summer.
Stintz said the federal government's decision to kick in money for subways changed the equation and made a subway line a better option for Scarborough.
"When our federal and provincial partners came to the table and both said they want to build subways, now we're building a subway."
"You make the decisions with the information that you have," said Stintz.
The week-long interview series wraps up Friday when Mayor Rob Ford is scheduled to be on the show at 7:40 a.m.