The MTA Finance Committee caused our collective stomach to drop on Monday, when CFO Bob Foran described an impending world in which MTA fares and tolls are 15% worse. Didn't this just happen?

Foran didn't put a time stamp on the hike. However, he and his colleagues agreed that unless Albany helps close the $14 billion gap in the MTA's five-year capital plan in the next few months, they'll have no choice but to take drastic measures. Large-scale cuts to construction jobs like the Second Avenue subway were also floated.

But yesterday, MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast did his very best to still the saber-rattling. "‎Yesterday's mention of a potential 15% fare and toll increase was a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question," he said in a statement. "No one has proposed we pay for our capital needs on the backs of our riders, and no one is considering it."

Unfortunately, while the MTA runs around calming the public, nothing has been resolved. The "freight train" of misery described by MTA board member Jeffrey Kay is still rolling at us. And there doesn't seem to be anything reassuring about Albany's agenda for the coming months. Streetsblog's Stephen Miller pointed out this afternoon:

With just seven weeks left in the legislative session, the only MTA funding proposal on the table in the legislature is a non-starter from Assembly Member Jim Brennan that would increase the gas tax, hike income taxes for high earners, and force a contribution from the city.

The fare hike may be hypothetical, but Albany's dysfunction has been proven over and over again.