Remember when the MTA approved a $1 surcharge for each new MetroCard you buy? It's baaaaaacccck. Later today the MTA will unveil its 2012 budget and though it reportedly doesn't include fare hikes or service cuts (hallelujah!) it does include the return of that rascally surcharge.

The new fee, which you won't pay if you simply refill your card, is now expected to kick in early next year and is expected to save the MTA $20 million annually. The holdup is reportedly in the software changes required for MetroCard vending machines and turnstiles. "It's been more complicated than expected," a source tells the Daily News.

Considering the number of empty MetroCards that make mosaics around nearly every turnstile in the system, this probably isn't the worst idea environmentally or economically. What remains to be seen is if the new MetroCard vending machine software will allow riders to refill their unlimited cards, too. And anyway, this fee is only for now. In the future we'll all be riding the subway with magical no-swipe credit cards and cellphone apps...right?