Lawmakers push e-commute pilot

With federal agencies required to make teleworking available to workers in the coming years, a group of lawmakers announced a pilot program Tuesday that creates incentives for letting employees work from home.

Using the catch phrase "Don't pollute, e-commute," a contingent of lawmakers from the five cities involved in the pilot proclaimed their support for the E-Commute program, which creates incentives for companies to develop telework programs.

The pilot involves Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Denver, Houston and Philadelphia.

Companies in those cities will use a Web-based system to track auto emissions reductions resulting from telework. The reductions will translate into emissions credits, which can be accumulated and traded or donated to reduce the amount of smog-creating pollutants.

The nonprofit National Environmental Policy Institute, which is spearheading the National Telework and Air Quality Pilot Project, said the credits add a financial incentive for companies to offer telework.

"Reducing the amount of time workers spend in traffic is a tangible way that each and every one of us can help to improve our environment," said Christine Todd Whitman, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is working with NEPI on the pilot.

Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.), who also is part of the group supporting the pilot program, said that although the E-Commute program is voluntary and targeted at the private sector, telecommuting is the law for federal agencies.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who has been the biggest proponent of telework programs, said that this program could encourage agencies to telework. He projected that as many as 60 percent of the 140,000 federal workers in the Washington, D.C., region could telework. That could involve as little as working at home for just one day.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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