CHICAGO — The financial outlooks for the St. Louis Metro and Menasha, Wis., brightened this week after voters approved a sales tax increase for the struggling transit agency and a sale-leaseback transaction for the city that will help it settle $23 million of defaulted debt.

More than 60% of those who voted in St. Louis County approved the half-cent increase in Metro's sales tax. It's expected to raise at least $75 million to $80 million. The agency will use the additional funding to cover operations, including the cost of restoring service cuts made last year, and to expand its services. Voters had rejected a similar tax increase request in 2008.

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