While final details must be ironed out, a single bill that could be formally proposed on Monday at the earliest in the House of Representatives would address both issues and set the stage for quick passage next week, a congressional aide said.
Democrats and Republicans returning this week from a month's recess agreed on a bipartisan deal that resolves key issues surrounding continued, temporary funding of Federal Aviation Administration airport improvement projects and Transportation Department road and transit upgrades.
A pitched political battle in Washington this summer over raising the debt ceiling marred consideration of FAA funding renewal, triggering a two-week shutdown in late July of airport construction projects the furlough of 4,000 government employees and idling thousands of construction jobs.
Negotiations on the framework of FAA and highway construction funding extensions accelerated on Friday with hard deadlines to address both issues fast approaching. Authorization to fund FAA programs expires September 16, while similar transportation programs expire September 30.
President Barack Obama last week called on Congress to approve extensions of both without delay.
The year, especially the summer, has been marked by partisan rancor in Congress that has fueled negative public sentiment about members' job performance.
The House bill spearheaded by Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica was submitted to the Rules Committee late on Friday night.
It would extend FAA airport construction funding through January and highway funding through March. The highway extension includes all vehicle safety and recall programs. Budgeting for FAA air traffic control is already fully funded.
A formal Senate proposal has not emerged for the aviation aspect, but the House measure appears to satisfy the wishes of key members because it proposes no policy or funding changes, the aide said.
The Senate Public Works Committee wants a highway extension of at least four months, but a longer one would not likely raise objections.
The swiftness with which the dual plan came together improves prospects for a deal on a long-term FAA bill. Of the two big transport programs existing on a string of temporary funding renewals, the FAA legislation is further along and most differences were resolved months ago.
The last permanent FAA bill expired in 2007. The last full measure highway bill expired in 2009.