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L.A. County Election Results: Measure M Leads in Early Returns

In this file photo, traffic moves slowly south on the 5 Freeway between the 710 and 605 freeways. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

In this file photo, traffic moves slowly south on the 5 Freeway between the 710 and 605 freeways. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

A sales tax hike that would fund the most ambitious mass transit expansion in Los Angeles County history was ahead in early returns Tuesday.

With 9% of precincts reporting, 67.28% of voters favored the half-cent sales tax increase. That’s above the 66.67% threshold it needs to win.

If two-thirds of voters approve Measure M — which would raise the sales tax an additional half a penny for every dollar spent — Los Angeles County would see a dramatic rail expansion over the next 40 years.

By raising about $120 billion in revenue over four decades, the plan envisions a tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass, connecting the San Fernando Valley and the Westside along the congested 405 freeway, as well as transit lines extending to the suburbs of Artesia, Claremont, Torrance, Whittier and South El Monte.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.