Unofficial returns show metro Atlanta voters have rejected a penny sales tax referendum that would have helped pay for billions in transportation projects over the next decade.

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, 63 percent of voters rejected the tax, compared to 37 percent in favor.

The proposed tax to fund billions in transportation projects in Georgia over the next decade was a draw for many voters in Tuesday's primary elections.

The issue was on the primary ballot in 12 districts across the state; it passed in only three. Voters in the Savannah region rejected the transportation tax, 58 percent to 43 percent.

Supporters included Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who tied the tax to Georgia's economic future and promised the infrastructure projects would ease traffic congestion. Critics derided the proposal as an unfair tax on the poor that wouldn't address sprawl.