The Senate passed a measure to extend funding for highwayprojects through Dec. 4 Thursday, giving the House and Senate moretime to hash out a compromise between their respective long-termhighway funding bills.

Funds were set to expire Friday if Congress didnot act.The House and Senate versions of the long-termbill would provide enough highway funds for three years of the sixyear legislation.

The full conference committee is set to gather afterCongress returns from its Thanksgiving recess to reconcilethe discrepancies between the House and Senate bills,including how they plan to use the Federal Reserve to providerevenue to offset transportation costs.

Other differences include upping damage payments for rail victims to $295million in the Senate version, and a call formore funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationin the Senate version.

The last time Congress passed a transportation bill that lastedmore than two years was in 2005.

Follow Juliegrace Brufke on Twitter