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President Obama late last week signed another short-term extension — this one through Dec. 4 — of federal funding for surface transportation programs in order to give the House and Senate conference committee more time to reach an agreement on a long-term highway and public transit bill.The measure extends federal funding beyond the previous extension, which expired Nov. 20.Also last week, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) was named chairman of the bicameral surface transportation bill conference committee. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) was named vice chairman.The committee's membership is made up of House and Senate members charged with resolving differences between the House and Senate bills. "There is plenty of common ground between the two proposals to allow us to reach an agreement that both Houses can willingly support," Shuster said in a prepared statement. "We've already made some very good progress in working through some of our differences, and I look forward to finishing our work on a final measure that helps improve America's infrastructure."