Yesterday New Yorkers received their second stern warning in a week about the dire state of the MTA. "I don't see much basis for hope. I'm very concerned," said Lt. Gov. Ravitch, top liaison to the MTA, according to the Post. As the agency wrestles with a $383 million budget gap, it’s putting free student metrocards, as well as some bus, subway and paratransit service on the the chopping block. Anything, anything, to avoid raising the fare in 2010.

Though Ravitch thinks the authority is “in serious trouble,” he noted that MTA chief Jay Walder is working hard to avert the drastic and highly unpopular move. "He's cutting the expense budget very severely in order, I'm sure, to try to avoid a fare increase this year," Ravitch said in remarks to the New York Building Congress, adding that station rehabs and the construction of news stations might lack the necessary funds to proceed.

He’s certainly not the only city official wrinkling his brow over the agency. Last week after approving a new round of service cuts, Mayor Bloomberg said city dwellers should brace themselves for a forthcoming set that would be “much worse.”