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2018 Global Citizen Festival

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses the crowd at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park Sept. 29.

ALBANY — In New York state government news, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heading into the final weeks before the election with a huge financial advantage over Republican challenger Marc Molinaro.

Meanwhile, there's more dire predictions about the future of New York City subways and a new effort to fight hepatitis C gets off the ground.

Here's a look at stories making news:

GOP WARCHEST WOES: Cuomo, a Democrat, has more than 40 times more money to spend on his campaign than Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive.

According to campaign finance reports filed last week, Molinaro has raised $448,000 since July and spent about $1.13 million. He now has $211,000 on hand.

Cuomo's balance? $9.2 million.

The towering advantage means Cuomo will be able to overwhelm Molinaro when it comes to critical campaign ads in the final weeks of the race. Cuomo already had the advantage of incumbency — and party enrollment. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York by more than two-to-one.

The recent filings also show that none of the three third-party candidates appear to be picking up serious fundraising momentum. Independent candidate and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner posted a balance of $55,000. Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins has $31,000 and Libertarian Larry Sharpe has $24,000 on hand.

MTA MALAISE: Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office has a new report out with more dire predictions about the future of New York City's subways.

The analysis concludes that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's financial plan "entails considerable risk." The authority will face a budget gap of $424 million in 2021 that grows to $634 million just a year later, according to the review. And that's after new investments by the city and state — and plans for fare and toll increases — are factored in.

The authority needs billions of dollars more in coming years to repair, replace and maintain the aging system.

DiNapoli, a Democrat, said it's part of a broader "crisis" impacting all of the region's public transportation systems.

"Service has deteriorated on the city's subways and buses, the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North," he said. "Subway ridership has fallen notwithstanding the largest job expansion in New York City's history. Despite an infusion of $836 million in state and city funds, there has been little improvement so far in subway service. Riders are leaving the system in frustration and deserve better, especially considering the proposed increase in fares."

DiNapoli's auditors also looked at on-time performance by the subway and determined it's getting worse — a finding that won't surprise many regular riders.

Weekday on-time performance fell from 87.7 percent in 2010 to 63.4 percent last year. That's the lowest score since 1991.

Among the other interesting findings in the report: Almost one-third of subway cars are 30 years old or older. Average bus and subway fares have risen 53 percent since 2007 — nearly three times faster than inflation.

HELP FOR HEP C: A new state effort to eradicate hepatitis C is underway.

Cuomo announced last week that he has appointed several physicians, public health officials and community advocates to a new task force created to address the disease, a significant cause of liver disease and liver failure that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call a "silent epidemic."

More than 200,000 New Yorkers are believed to have hepatitis C; in many cases people have the disease but show no symptoms until serious complications appear. Experts say many baby boomers were exposed to the virus decades ago, while many new cases in younger people can be linked to the rise in opioid use.

The task force's main goals are to study ways to improve prevention, increase testing and expand access to treatments and cures.

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