Update: The Times reports that the MTA put off a planned debt issue Tuesday because of the still-inhospitable capital markets. Ohio and Hawaii did the same.

The good news is that despite increasing pressure on both revenues and expenses, Standard and Poor’s has affirmed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s “A” rating, with a stable outlook.

S&P optimistically expects the MTA to do a bunch of good things to keep that rating.

Specifically, the outlook reflects analysts’ expectations “that the MTA will achieve structural balance in … 2009-2012 and that the capital plan will receive adequate funding to ensure continued system preservation. The outlook further reflects the expectation that the authority will continue to receive support from the state and city government while prduently managing its level of capital expenditures with regard to its ongoing operational needs. Any operating deficit could result in a lower rating or an outlook revision.”

A cynic would view the “affirmation” as a circumspect warning.

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.