Senate Extends Aviation, Highway Programs

The Senate has passed a bill temporarily extending federal aviation and highway programs, averting another shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, abruptly dropped his effort to block a vote Thursday afternoon, clearing the way for passage.

The bill extends the FAA's operating authority, which was due to expire at midnight Friday, through January. Highway and transit programs, which were due to expire Oct. 1, are extended through March.

John Hart, a spokesman for Coburn, says the senator agreed to drop his opposition in exchange for assurances that a highway program that funds bike paths and other "transportation enhancements" will be eliminated at a later point.