In three weeks the MTA is going to raise your fare, and Harlem might not even get a 2nd Avenue Subway line to show for it. Yesterday MTA chairman Tom Prendergast, who leads an agency with more debt than the countries of Panama and Iceland combined, pointed out to state lawmakers that unless the MTA receives the $15 billion it desperately needs for its capital program, the 2nd Avenue Subway might not extend from 96th Street to 125th Street.

That's because $22 billion of the MTA's $32 billion capital proposal involves track and signal maintenance a.k.a. keeping the wheels turning on this subterranean sardine jalopy. The 125th Street 2nd Avenue subway extension, countdown clocks, new elevators, and help point intercoms would all perish in budgetary triage.

"It may not be that interesting to somebody if they don't see a (power) substation or they don't see cables going to a third rail, but if we don't maintain that, and that's a safety and reliability issue, then we could have a safety and reliability problem," Prendergast said, according to the Daily News.

What was interesting to Long Island Republican Senator Jack Martens, was how expensive commuting from Mineola on the LIRR has gotten.

"Mass transit should be cheaper than the alternative and when it’s not it’s a problem," Martens said. "We’re reaching the point where it’s no longer cost effective for a family to take mass transit into the city."

This is the same Jack Martens who helped repeal "the job killing MTA payroll tax for over 37,000 small businesses in Nassau County," and who proposed a bill that would strip the agency of another $767 million in funds.

"We all understand that we have to support our local municipalities to pave our roads, to keep our parks operating and available and safe for our children," Martins said in 2011. "What we can't accept is that our taxes are going to support a third party like the MTA."

In 2015, the MTA will pay $2.2 billion of its $13.5 billion operating budget to "debt service," because banks want interest on their money (interest at an obscenely high fixed rate). This will only get worse. And every $1 billion the MTA borrows means a 1% fare hike for us.

So far, Governor Cuomo's solution is to let us "ordinary people" pay for it or pull it out of a magic portal. Besides, he doesn't have to take the subway.