SAN FRANCISCO - The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority last week advanced a sales tax ballot measure that would raise as much as $40 billion to expand highways and public transportation in the nation's most notoriously congested region.

The authority - which is known as Metro - asked the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to put a half-cent sales tax measure on the Nov. 4 ballot. The California Legislature would also have to raise the county's sales tax cap to 8.75% from 8.25%.

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