SAN FRANCISCO - The Clark County, Nev., airport system took off this week with a refinancing designed to clear its books of variable-rate debt impaired by the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis.

The system, which includes McCarran International Airport, the nation's sixth-busiest in passenger traffic, had auction-rate debt that reset at high rates when the auction-rate securities market came unglued, as well as variable-rate demand obligations with liquidity facilities that carried an insurance backstop, meaning the debt became contaminated by the troubles of most monoline bond insurers.

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