The proposition also fizzled in Utah County by a 57-43 margin. Supporters conceded that Prop 1 fell short in Rich and Box Elder counties.
Unofficial results also indicated that it failed by 44 votes in Uintah County and by 101 votes in Juab County.
In some bright spots for Prop 1, it passed by a 57-43 percent margin in Weber County, won by a 57-43 percent margin in Davis County and was up in Carbon, Duchesne, San Juan and Tooele counties.
Prop 1 was on the ballot in a total of 17 counties.
Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan, a strong supporter of Prop 1, said controversy over the Utah Transportation Authority likely brought down the proposition in Salt Lake County.
"It was the constant negative that we heard."
Along the Wasatch Front, 40 percent of Prop 1 money, by law, would go to the UTA. Another 40 percent would go to cities and unincorporated area service districts for local roads, trails, bike paths, sidewalks and similar projects. Twenty percent would go to counties for projects of regional significance.
Dolan said most residents supported the part of Prop 1 that would help local roads, "but the campaign against UTA had a strong effect on the turnout" and in votes against the proposition.
Agreeing was Evelyn Everton, Utah director of Americans for Prosperity, who fought Prop 1 by targeting UTA.
Even though her group spent no money — and proponents spent $675,000 — she said attacking UTA in Salt Lake County led to "a 50-50 split, when in other counties it wasn't even close. It really goes to show the power of the grass roots in standing up to these tax hikes."
Albrecht said that in areas where Prop 1 apparently lost, supporters will meet with locally elected officials to determine whether to attempt to pass it again in the near future.
"As I've said before, this is not a sprint, but a marathon," Albrecht said, "and we still have a long way to go to educate the public on the importance of long-term, integrated transportation funding."
Prop 1 sought to raise the sales tax by a penny for every $4 in purchases.