The margin in a Richland County transportation sales tax was too close to call, with three precincts still out at 10:45 p.m.
The anti-tax sentiment was slightly ahead amid the remnants of a recession, the vote 51 percent to 49 percent, as observers waited to find the fate of a $1 billion, 25-year plan to fund roads, public transportation and pedestrian improvements.
A citizen-led effort, bankrolled by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, much of the campaign focused on creating construction jobs, made a strong showing. “It just shows people are desperate to jump-start the economy,” tax activist Don Weaver said.
Should the pro-transportation group lose, the chamber’s Ike McLeese said Citizens for a Greater Columbia would gear up for a reprise in 2012, its next opportunity to put the issue on the ballot.
“The issues we were attempting to address are not going to go away,” he said.