WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia plans by the end of next month to convert about $550 million of its auction-rate securities to variable-rate demand obligations backed by letters of credit, Treasurer Lasana Mack said in a recent interview.

The transaction will allow the district to join the ever-growing flock of issuers getting out of the beleaguered auction-rate market because their auctions have failed and their interest costs have soared. The district's ARS interest rates peaked at 15%, Mack said.

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