SAN FRANCISCO - The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to refinance $167 million of auction-rate securities Wednesday, as it works to clear its variable-rate debt portfolio of more than a half-billion dollars of poorly performing assets.

The authority was set to begin refinancing the debt last fall, when the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. ushered in a new round of turmoil in the municipal bond market and a severe drought in liquidity to back muni variable-rate demand obligations.

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