Congress has approved legislation to keep federal highway and transit programs going for another month, as negotiations continue to move slowly on a long-term successor to the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.

TEA-21 expired Sept. 30 and since then a series of short extensions has been necessary to avert a virtual shutdown of federal highway and transit agencies. The current short-term extension expires June 30. The latest extension, the fourth in the series, cleared the House and Senate on June 23. It carries the transport programs through July 31.

After proceedings on June 25, Congress begins a week-long July 4 break.

Also on June 23, House and Senate conferees held their second formal negotiating session on a six-year transport bill. At that session, the Senate made an offer to the House side on the bill's funding, proposing $318 billion. That was no surprise: It was the level contained in the bill the Senate approved in February. Speaking for the House side, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) said he would present a counteroffer after the July 4 recess. The conference is slated to resume on July 7.