Transportation headlines, Monday, Feb. 7

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

Santa Clara County transit to provide free rides for qualified homeless (Mercury News)

The Valley Transportation Authority in Santa Clara County approved the plan, which will provide free rides to qualified riders. The idea is to help the homeless reach critical medical, jobs and social service appointments. Most other programs in the Bay Area don’t give free frides directly to the homeless — rather, discounted tickets are sold to homeless service providers which in turn give them to the homeless.

LaHood optimistic about federal transpo bill (Reuters)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that after meeting with Congressional leaders from both parties, he believes that a multiyear federal bill to pay for road and transit projects could be passed by August. The bill is already two years overdue. Metro is working to have the bill include language approving the 30/10 Initiative to speed up the building of Measure R projects, including the Westside Subway Extension.

New York studies barriers on subway platforms to keep people off tracks (New York Daily News)

The New York MTA is looking at metal and glass barriers that would seal train tracks off from platforms and prevent people from falling onto the tracks. The barriers would have doors that would open when trains are in stations and allow people only to enter subway doors. In 2009, 90 people were struck by New York subway trains and 40 were killed.

Caltrain ponders massive cuts (Mercury News)

The commuter rail agency that runs between San Francisco, San Jose and points south has a $30.3-million budget gap and is considering closing 16 stations and eliminating most service outside of weekday rush hours. About 13 percent of the 40,000 daily riders on Caltrain use those stations. The agency badly needs more funding from outside the agency — a regional tax may be the solution.