Say hello to Maria Augimeri, your new TTC chair
Over the past three years, Torontonians have grown accustomed to thinking of Karen Stintz as the TTC’s chair. Yesterday, though, Stintz made good on her promise to step aside from the role so she can focus on her mayoral campaign (which should be getting underway any minute now). The upshot is that Toronto now has Maria Augimeri as its top transit politician, at least for the time being.
Augimeri narrowly beat out rookie councillor Josh Colle for the high-profile position after an open ballot at Wednesday’s city council meeting. Augimeri is a left-leaning York Centre councillor who voted against one of Stintz’s favourite pet projects: scrapping the Scarborough LRT in favour of a subway extension. (Stintz reportedly favoured Colle.) She’s been on Toronto’s council since amalgamation, and previously served on the North York council.
She promised yesterday not to reopen the LRT-versus-subway debate, and instead to be a “caretaker” TTC chair, focused on improving surface transit and drumming up subsidies from higher levels of government. She also pledged not to remain in the role past the end of 2014. The latter is a promise that seems made to be broken—though depending on the outcome of the 2014 election she may not have much say in the matter.