In early returns, metro Atlanta voters on July 31 appeared to be rejecting an $8 billion tax to pay for a mixture of transportation projects intended to fight traffic gridlock in the region and to create jobs over the next decade.

With about 385,000 votes reported by the Georgia Secretary of State, 65 percent were cast against the controversial tax and 35 percent in favor.

The sales tax was projected to raise about $8 billion over its 10-year life. About $6.1 billion was to be spent on regional projects and another $1,1 billion was to be provided to local governments for local projects.

Under the Transportation Improvement Act approved by the Georgia Legislature, the metro Atlanta area was one of 12 multi-county regions in the state. Each region developed its own list of projects to be financed by a sales tax. The metro Atlanta region encompasses Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton, Cherokee, Douglas, Fayette, Henry and Rockdale counties.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.