Virginia adds telecommuting incentive
- By Nicholas Morehead
- May 31, 2001
Businesses in northern Virginia's overcrowded metropolitan area may be eligible
for financial incentives from the commonwealth if they make telecommuting
an option for their employees, Governor Jim Gilmore announced yesterday.
Through the Telework!VA program, Virginia will reimburse companies up
to $35,000, or $3,500 per employee, for the cost of telecommuting-related
equipment and services, including computer and server equipment, answering
machines, fax machines, modems and even Web-cams.
In addition to reducing the number of vehicles on crowded northern Virginia
highways, the program could save corporations from having to buy more real
estate or spend more money on parking. Telecommuting also could get more
productivity from people who would no longer be faced with the stress of
a daily commute, Gilmore said.
In developing the program, the commonwealth looked at similar incentive-based
programs in Oregon, Maryland, Arizona and California, but Telework!VA "is
one of the most progressive telework programs in the country," he said.
"We're changing the way we do business in transportation through innovation
and technology. This has the potential to significantly increase the quality
of life in the region."
Telework!VA (www.teleworkva.org) is a $3 million public/private partnership
to be administered by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
(www.drpt.state.va.us) through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
To participate, businesses must have a minimum of 20 employees working
in northern Virginia, and participating telework employees must be Virginia
Virginia is sending out letters to 4,000 local businesses to invite
them to go online and apply, the governor said.
"Money isn't the only answer here," Gilmore said, adding that telecommuting
nationwide is said to save businesses $441 billion annually. "It seems the
more money you put in, the more roads and traffic you have. What we need
is an innovative, aggressive approach, which is what you have here."