A contract with Atlanta’s public transportation provider that would have brought a significant expansion of mass transit has been voted down by a north-metro county.

Gwinnett County’s referendum Tuesday asked if voters wanted to authorize a contract with MARTA and impose a 1 percent sales tax for transit expansion.

Unofficial results from the county’s board of elections show that just over 54 percent of the nearly 92,000 votes cast opposed the measure.

Advocates said approval would have helped alleviate traffic problems and air pollution from cars idling in rush-hour gridlock.

While the historically white, affluent suburban county has long resisted a transit connection to the racially diverse center of Atlanta, Gwinnett County has transformed considerably in recent decades. Since 1990 it has nearly tripled in population and become significantly more diverse.

(Photo: John Spink/AP)

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