A day after council shot down her OneCity plan, Karen Stintz says she wouldn't do anything different if she had to launch the failed 30-year TTC expansion proposal again.
Asked if she had any regrets the morning after, the TTC chair told reporters, "No not any at all. What we did was we began a discussion in the city about how to fund and build transit."
Although most elements of OneCity had so little support that Stintz decided not to bring them to council, she believes that when city staff report back in the fall on a long-term transit expansion plan, it will "look very similar to OneCity."
"I do believe that because of the work that we did, [city manager] Joe Pennachetti is now developing a 30-year, $30-billion plan. And I'm not sure we would have had that outcome had we not launched our initiative," she said.
Councillor Peter Milczyn offered a different assessment however.
"They floated a trial balloon, it turned out to be a lead balloon," he quipped.
Milczyn agreed that the network map that staff bring forward in September might resemble OneCity, but mainly because Stintz's initiative was based on routes that had already been proposed.
"Obviously we're not going to have a Carlaw subway being recommended by staff, or a Palmerston Blvd. LRT," he said.
While Milczyn, a TTC board member, conceded that the debate that OneCity sparked could lead to a more robust transit plan, he said Stintz's decision to unveil the plan at a splashy press conference last month without first consulting most of her council colleagues gave false hope to Torontonians already desperate for a better TTC.
"To the average person who doesn't follow the minutiae of City Hall, it sounds like there was a great plan, and it's been scrapped," he said. "People's hopes get raised and then they get dashed, and if you keep doing it over and over and over again, people become extraordinarily cynical."
Even for a city that has seen its fair share of transit plans blow up over the year's, OneCity rapid downfall was remarkable. Days after Stintz and TTC vice-chair announced it at a June 27 media event, it was being picked apart by councillors across the spectrum, as well as being criticized by the provincial government and the regional transit agency Metrolinx.
Support for the plan - which called for the creation of a transit tax and the construction of six subway, ten LRT, and five bus and streetcar routes over 30 years - had all but evaporated by the time Stintz had intended to take it to council.