Albany's plan to help out the MTA is stuck in the State Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has questioned whether the March 25 deadline is a real deadline. The MTA has previously said it would pass a series of severe fare hikes and service cuts if it didn't get aid but Smith said yesterday, "We’re just not sure if those deadlines are one that they put for the sake of getting a vote."

State Senator Carl Kruger—who opposes any East and Harlem River tolls—told Politicker NY, "Deadlines are arbitrary dates set by people that have things to hide." (Kruger offers an idea to borrow money by using the bridges as collateral.) However, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who supports the bailout plan that includes tolls, said, "I see it as a hard deadline. I don't want to test it. ... I'm not here to play chicken with anybody."

Basically State Senate Democrats who oppose the plan are suggesting anything and everything else—car registration fees, the sale-lease of MTA land for affordable housing, imposing a commuter tax—to avoid voting for something that includes East and Harlem River bridge tolls. The Straphangers Campaign's Gene Russianoff has a suggestion for how to get Republican support—by having voting for the road and highway program at the same time. In the meantime, the MTA is holding a special board meeting to discuss what's going on at the Legislature as well as other budget matters on Friday.