03/09/2012 09:29 EST | Updated 05/09/2012 05:12 EDT

TTC Chair Jeered At Scarborough Meeting


TTC chair Coun. Karen Stintz was given a rough ride at a rowdy town hall discussion in Scarborough on Thursday night, facing jeers for her support of light-rail transit over subways.

Four panelists, including Stintz, and members of the public were invited by the advocacy group Toronto Taxpayers Coalition to talk about a transit solution for Sheppard Avenue.

When panelist Gordon Chong — author of a report saying a Sheppard subway extension could be paid for through new tolls and taxes — asked Stintz if she was "thick or what?" the crowd responded with applause.

In February, Stintz engineered a transit coup at city council, reversing Mayor Rob Ford's original plan to put new light-rail lines underground. She brought forward a new plan, approved by council, to keep the LRT above ground and service more neighbourhoods.

The same motion called for the debate on Sheppard Avenue — above-ground LRTs or a shorter length of subway — to be put off until an advisory panel reports back to council. That debate is scheduled for March 21.

Stintz argued there is no money to extend the Sheppard line. The province is providing $8.4-billion for all of the transit projects combined.

Some opponents at the meeting said they would rather accept a shorter extension now, rather than any light-rail option.

When Stintz said it's about how to best spend the money, the crowd shouted her down with yells of "subways!"

Chong's report says road tolls, parking fees and other forms of taxation could be used to help pay for the Sheppard subway extension.

Stintz said she's seen no proper plan from those in favour of the subway extension.

"You know what?" she said. "I've got to be honest with you. If there was a plan ... we wouldn't be having this meeting."