The vote took all the air out of the room and most of the people in attendance at Thursday night's meeting of the Transportation Authority of Marin.
Anyone hoping for the TAM board would reconsider its decision to help bail out Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit on Thursday left angry and disappointed.
TAM commissioners moved 8-4, with one abstention, not to revote on the approval of an $8 million transfer of funds to the SMART project to help close a $43 million budget gap for the initial construction of the rail. Supervisor Susan Adams (San Rafael), a staunch opponent of the SMART project, was not present.
Protesters stood outside the Marin Civic Center before the meeting with signs opposing the grant and SMART. There were audible gasps and a few pointed comments as the vote was taken. Although there were supporters of SMART present, any applause was drowned out by the grumbling of opponents as they left the room.
Larkspur Mayor Larry Chu moved to rescind the June 23 vote with the hope that a second vote would clear the waters surrounding the agencies. A new vote also could have opened the door to change the language in the funding agreement.
With the failure of the motion, the TAM board did not take up the issue of the $8 million transfer and there was no change in the board's position toward the SMART bailout.
"The whole SMART issue has been cloudy. We're only now getting some information we should have had before we voted on the tax increase. I wonder if some of that cloudiness is making its way into TAM now too," said David Randolph of San Rafael. "We should rescind the vote, meet again with the public attending the vote, getting the people's comments and reactions."
The of the TAM board ended in a 7-7 tie, but after some reconsideration by board members, a second vote that same day ended 8-6 in favor of the grant. Larkspur's Joan Lundstrum changed her vote in favor of the bailout.
Members of the public Thursday expressed some concern and bewilderment over the change, even suggesting that some board members were coerced into changing their votes.
RepealSMART, led by Novato resident John Parnell, , accusing the board of violating the Brown Act at the June 23 meeting.
"I don't think we need to be fearful of the outcome of another vote. The merits are there," said Michael Rex of San Anselmo, who warned not taking another vote could add ammunition to RepealSMART's lawsuit. "Doing it in this manner will help rebuild trust between TAM and the community."
TAM's executive committee meets July 11. SMART's July 20 meeting has been cancelled and the board won't meet again until August 17.