WASHINGTON – Congress has reached a bipartisan compromise to end the two-week partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has idled 74,000 federal employees and construction workers and cost the government about $30 million a day in uncollected airline ticket taxes, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Thursday.

The deal would allow the Senate to approve a House bill extending the FAA’s operating authority through mid-September, including a provision that eliminates $16.5 million in air service subsidies to 13 rural communities. A vote on the bill is expected today.

Republicans had insisted on the subsidy cuts as their price for restoring the FAA to full operation. But the cuts may become moot.

The bill includes language that gives the transportation secretary the authority to continue subsidized service to the 13 communities if he decides it’s necessary.

Democrats said they expect the administration to effectively waive or negate the cuts.

“I just know that the White House has provided assurances that they (the communities) will be held harmless,” said a Senate Democratic leadership aide who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the deal.

The shutdown began when much of Washington was transfixed by the stalemate over raising the government’s debt ceiling. During that time, the FAA furloughed 4,000 workers but kept air traffic controllers and most safety inspectors on the job. Forty airport safety inspectors worked without pay, picking up their own travel expenses. Some 70,000 workers on construction-related jobs on airport projects from Palm Springs, Calif., to New York City were idled as the FAA couldn’t pay for the work.

Projects at the Portland (Maine) International Jetport were temporarily halted, including a $935,000 reinforcement of the control tower building, a $163,000 elevator project at the control tower and a $9,000 electrical project.

But airline passengers in the busy travel season hardly noticed any changes. Airlines continued to work as normal, but they were no longer authorized to collect federal ticket taxes at a rate of $30 million a day. For a few lucky ticket buyers, prices dropped. But for the vast majority, nothing changed because airlines raised their base prices to match the tax.

Some passengers will now be eligible for refunds if they bought their tickets before July 23 and their travel took place during the shutdown.

As the debt ceiling crisis passed and Congress headed home for its August recess without resolving the standoff, President Obama spoke out Wednesday and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urged Congress to return to deal with the issues.

The president expressed dismay that Congress would allow up to $1.2 billion in tax revenue to go out the door — the amount that could have been lost by the time lawmakers return in September.

Reid announced the deal Thursday afternoon, saying it would put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back to work.

Obama expressed relief.

“I’m pleased that leaders in Congress are working together to break the impasse involving the FAA so that tens of thousands of construction workers and others can go back to work,” Obama said in a statement. “We can’t afford to let politics in Washington hamper our recovery, so this is an important step forward.”