Davis County voters said "no" on Tuesday to a tax increase for transportation fixes, while residents of Box Elder County voted a resounding yes.
Results in Weber County were too close to call.
The three counties were voting on Opinion Question 1, which, in Davis and Weber counties, was for a quarter-cent sales-tax hike to fund road improvement projects such as a new freeway interchange in Layton and land for a future extension of the Legacy Parkway. Mass transit projects were also an option.
In Box Elder, the increase was to pay for a study of commuter rail into Brigham City.
With 95 percent of precinct votes counted, the opinion question was passing by only 310 votes in Weber County. In Box Elder, it passed 68 percent to 32 percent, with all precincts reporting.
In Davis County, the question failed 58 percent to 42 percent, with all precincts reporting. Some provisional and absentee ballots must still be counted in the three counties.
Steve Handy, spokesman for the Northern Utah Transportation Alliance, said he believed the tax question failed in Davis as result of anti-tax sentiment from recent property-tax hikes. Also, some mayors in South Davis County did not believe the increase would benefit residents, because many of the projects that could be funded were located in northern Davis County, he said.
"I think people not only said 'no,' but 'heck no' on any new tax increases," Handy said.
But he promised the question would be back before Davis voters again and possibly Weber. His group believes funding transportation will improve quality of life in the state by reducing congestion. The group raised about $200,000 and promoted the tax question with lawn signs, mailers and some media advertisements.
The tax hike had little opposition from organized groups. The Utah Taxpayers Association and other tax watchdog groups said they believed residents are already paying too many taxes, and other options such as driver impact fees should be used to fund transportation.During its first year of authorization, the tax hike was projected to raise $800,000 in Box Elder County, $8.7 million in Weber County and $12 million in Davis County.
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