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Senate Approves Short-Term Highway-Funding Measure

9/16/2011 9:00:00 AM
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The U.S. Senate approved a short-term extenstion of transportation funding that averts a shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration and will provide continued funding for federal highway programs.

The 92-6 vote late Thursday followed House approval of the transportation funding measure earlier this week and was sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.

It extends federal surface transportation and infrastructure spending and the federal fuel tax system that helps fund it through the end of March.

It funds FAA spending through the end of January. FAA’s funding would have expired Friday and workers could have been furloughed beginning this weekend, absent congressional action.

There has been no long-term surface transportation law since September of 2009, and the most recent of seven extensions would have expired on Sept. 30.

Senators approved the measure after agreeing to a demand by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who had held up the bill, to allow states to opt out of a requirement to use some highway grant money for bike paths and other so-called enhancements, Bloomberg reported.

That language will be added to separate legislation to reauthorize highway and transit programs for two years, Bloomberg said, citing Coburn’s spokesman.

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