Federal highway and transit programs can continue for 10 more weeks, thanks to a new, short-term reauthorization signed  into law on Dec. 19.

The extension, which runs through Feb. 28, was attached to a 2010 Defense Dept. spending bill that cleared Congress Dec. 19. President Obama signed the measure later that day.  It is the third highway-transit stopgap since Sept. 30, when the last multi-year authorization, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), lapsed.

Meanwhile, on the economic-stimulus front, the good news is: The House on Dec. 16 passed a $154-billion, jobs-producing measure that includes $48.2 billion for  infrastructure projects and some non-infrastructure transportation items. The bill, approved by a slim 217-212  margin, would be a follow-on to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which became law in February.

The bad news is: The Senate probably won't even take up the bill until January at the earliest.

The Senate is heading towards a final floor vote on a wide-ranging health-care bill and expected to take up little else this year.  Senate Democratic leaders have begun to explore ideas for a new jobs package, however.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Democrats hope that the larger  jobs measure "will be passed by the Senate [and] signed into law before the President comes to deliver his State of the Union Address." That usually takes place in late January.

Here's how the House jobs bill's public-works provisions break down:

Highways: $27.5 billion.

Transit: $8.4 billion , including $6.15 billion for urban and rural formula grants; $500 million for capital grants to fund new fixed-guideway lines or segments; $1.75 billion in formula funds for rail modernization projects, for heavy-rail, light-rail and commuter-rail systems.

Airports: $500 million for FAA Airport improvement Program grants.

EPA water: $2 billion, including $1 billion for Clean Water State Revolving Funds and $1 billion for Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.

Bureau of Reclamation: $100 million, for rural drinking-water and water-supply projects in areas hit by drought.

Corps of Engineers: $715 million for environmental restoration, flood protection, hydropower and navigation infrastructure.

DOE: $2 billion for the Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, for renewable-energy and electricity-transmission projects.

Schools: $4.1 billion, to let states, localities and tribal governments receive federal grants equal to the value of tax credits that would be payable on bonds issued for school construction, rehab or repairs.  Additional school renovation aid  could come from an "Education Jobs Fund" (see below).

Housing: $2 billion, including $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund to finance construction or renovation of  low-income housing; and $1 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund, for public-housing repairs and rehabilitation.

The bill also contains $800 million for Amtrak to purchase or rehabilitate rail rolling stock and $100 million for  Maritime Administration loan guarantees for ship building.

Democrats propose to pay for the jobs package with $75 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program .

Besides the $48.2 billion for infrastructure and other transportation purposes, the package also includes $23 billion for an Education Jobs Fund, with 95% of the money sent to states to be divided among local school districts and public colleges for personnel, or for upgrading or repairing public-school buildings.

The  measure also would contain $3.7 billion for police, firefighter, Americorps, parks and forestry, and summer youth jobs as well as for job training and college work-study.

It also has other provisions, including an extension for unemployment benefits, COBRA health coverage benefits, and Medicaid payments.