SAN FRANCISCO — The Las Vegas Monorail Co., which has more than $600 million of municipal bonds outstanding, sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday.

The nonprofit company was formed in 2000 to acquire and extend a rail system that connects hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. The monorail has made money in recent years, but not enough to cover its debt-service payments, and a 30% drop in convention traffic since the recession began convinced the board it can’t afford to pay its debts.

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