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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says streetcars need to be phased out.Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he would like to get rid of streetcars entirely, all the while acknowledging that it would take decades to phase them out completely.

"It's going to be hard. It's going to take years. We've got to phase them out," he told a group of reporters Wednesday afternoon.

"I won't be buying any more as mayor, and I'm going to be mayor for a long time, much to your chagrin."

Toronto signed a $1.2-billion contract with Bombardier in 2009 to purchase 204 streetcars through 2018.

"I never supported them," Mr. Ford said of that contract. "I got stuck paying the bill, though. Eventually – maybe 20, 30 years – let's phase them out."

He blamed streetcars for congestion, saying that building subways is the only way to get people out of their cars. He repeated his pledge to finish building the Scarborough subway extension before turning his attention to a Finch, then downtown relief line.

"I know one thing: I won't get on a streetcar," he said. "If I have an option to drive or take a streetcar, I'm going to get in my car."

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