If you've been wondering why there hasn't been much talk lately about the ongoing contract negotiations between the MTA and its bigest union, TWU Local 100, there is a good reason: They've been on hold for the last month as Local 100 President John Samuelsen recovered from a hip operation. But that is all over now. Both sides are set to return to the bargaining table today for further talks. Could a contract be far off?

Of course, the two sides still have the same old issues to work out first. The union wants raises for its 34,000 members. The MTA says it can't afford it (not surprising since it can barely afford anything). When the sides were last at the table, the raises were still an issue but it appeared that the MTA had agreed to give subway operators and conductors three paid days off if they witnessed someone being hit by a train. Slow and steady, people, slow and steady. Like a crosstown bus.