It has been almost two months since Jay Walder announced he'd be leaving his job atop the MTA to make some real money in Hong Kong and a little more than a month since Governor Cuomo set up a committee to find his replacement. So how's that going? Pretty well, it seems. The Daily News reports that the running is now down to six finalists with Joseph Lhota, a city budget director under Rudy Giuliani, as the front runner.

Well, Lhota is the front runner according to two of the News' sources. According to an official in Cuomo's office "there is no front-runner."

So what is there to know about Lhota? He's an executive vice president at Madison Square Garden, and was also deputy mayor of operations from 1998 to 2001. When he was budget director, Lhota was in charge of managing the city's $36 billion operating budget and $45 billion capital budget, so he's not unfamiliar with an operation the size of the MTA. Lhota, a trustee at CUNY, also had a career in the private sector before working for Giuliani. He spent 15 years working as an investment banker at PaineWebber and CS First Boston (with a specialization in public finance).

And if our socially lacking governor decides he doesn't dig Lhota? These are the other contenders:

NYC Transit President Thomas Prendergast; Nuria Fernandez, a former deputy administrator with the Federal Transit Administration who has held positions with transit agencies in Washington and Chicago; Daniel Grabauskas, the former general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and Karen Rae, deputy administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration and a former commissioner of the New York State Transportation Department.

Cuomo is going to have to pick fast though, Walder's last day on the job is October 21.