WASHINGTON -- The House Public Works and Transportation Committee yesterday approved by a 52-to-3 vote a $151 billion highway and mass transit bill, 15 days after funding and authorization for the transporation programs expired.

The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to act today on extending for four years -- through 1999 -- the 2.5-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax increase enacted as part of the budget agreement last year to finance spending slated for the last two years of the six-year highway bill.

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