(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Distrustful of government and riven by differences, metro Atlanta voters on Tuesday rejected a $7.2 billion transportation plan that business leaders have called an essential bulwark against regional decline.

The defeat of the 10-year, 1 percent sales tax leaves the Atlanta region’s traffic congestion problem with no visible remedy. It marks failure not only for the tax but for the first attempt ever to unify the 10-county region’s disparate voters behind a plan of action.

“Let this send a message,” said Debbie Dooley, a tea party leader who early on organized opposition to the T-SPLOST tax measure. “We the people, you have to earn our trust before asking for more money.”

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