WASHINGTON -- A decision by House Democratic leaders late Wednesday to drop their proposed "Nickel for America" gas tax increase broke the logjam that had been holding up the highway bill, but it could still take weeks or months to complete action on the legislation, congressional aides said yesterday.

The full House is not likely to act on the reauthorization bill before the scheduled Sept. 30 expiration of the highway and mass transit program because it will have to be scaled down to reflect the loss of the proposed gas tax revenues, said Jimmy Miller, director of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee.

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