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A new distress call from Transit City faithful:
Save Our Streetcars

Push to pressure province into ponying up public-transit cash goes viral. Kind of.

By Kelly Grant

David Miller’s prolific Twitter feed has a new accessory: A “twibbon” promoting the Save Transit City campaign. The yellow, red and black banner beneath the mayor’s picture on the micro-blogging site is part of the orchestrated online backlash against the Liberal government’s decision to postpone $4-billion in funding for public transportation projects in the Greater Toronto Area.

The website, run by the Toronto Environmental Alliance, the Toronto and York Region Labour Council and others, is urging supporters to e-mail the premier and Toronto MPPs to protest the delay. A Save Transit City Facebook group set up last week already has more than 1,200 members. Its administrators include a special assistant to TTC vice-chair Joe Mihevc and a campaign co-ordinator for TEA.

Some Transit City lines even have their own fledgling support groups on Facebook, including a “friends of” page for the refurbished Scarborough RT and the proposed Malvern and Sheppard light-rail lines (The $950-million Sheppard is expected to go ahead on time because it has already broken ground.) The Scarborough page was created by Neethan Shan, a York Region school trustee running for council in Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River.

Save Transit City will eventually expand to the real world, said Jamie Kirkpatrick, a campaigner for TEA. “We’re building to a big public splash,” he said.

In the meantime, the real-world equivalent of Mr. Miller’s twibbon was spotted on his allies’ lapels at City Hall yesterday. The mayor and TTC Chairman Adam Giambrone have started handing out old-fashioned Save Transit City buttons at their offices.