WASHINGTON -- The House Public Works Committee's surface transportation subcommittee yesterday approved the $153.5 billion highway bill after fending off amendments that would have reduced the bill's proposed new funding and management flexibility for state and local governments.

The subcommittee, which passed the bill in a 36-to-3 vote, also left intact the bill's proposal to raise the federal gasoline tax by five cents a gallon to finance a new "pay-as-you-go" program for highways and mass transit comprising $33 billion of the bill's five-year funding.

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