Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Transportation Committee Sets Agenda

1/21/2009 Ari Natter Associate Editor

Infrastructure investment, transportation safety and security, and global climate change will be among the top priorities of the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the 111th Congress, its chair said last week.

"There is almost as much for us to do as we did in the last Congress because of bills we passed but the Senate didn't act on," Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., said during a Committee meeting Jan. 15.

Oberstar said the committee will also be consumed with Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization legislation, and "the big bill" - surface transportation reauthorization legislation that could spend as much as $500 billion.
Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., the chair of the highways and transit subcommittee, said the bill, in addition to providing "adequate funding" would focus on "making the whole system more truly intermodal."

The committee plans to hold hearings on "Energy Reduction and Environmental Sustainability in Surface Transportation" Jan. 27 as well as a hearing on freight and passenger rail for Jan. 28.

From Traffic World On-Line.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What exactly is Car Sharing?

Car sharing allows individuals to use cars for a short amount of time—hours, instead of the days required by conventional car rental companies. With car sharing, drivers only pay for what they use, making car sharing a less expensive alternative to owning, leasing, or renting a car. Car sharing rates include gas, mileage, insurance, and maintenance costs. Vehicles can be reserved 24 hours a day via phone or Internet and can be used for any amount of time, from a few hours to a few days. Once a reservation is made, the reserved car can be opened using a personalized key and/or code. Keys are only available to members and can open car doors only after a reservation has been made. Reservations are sent wirelessly to the cars so they will open only for the right person with the right key at the right time.

Access to a vehicle when needed
Can assist employers in augmented company vehicle fleets
Ease of reservation process
Low cost
Convenient locations to transit
Less expensive than car ownership; ideal for those who don’t own a car
Less expensive for businesses than maintaining a fleet of vehicles
Helps to increase use of transit
Use of low emission vehicles, including hybrids, helps to reduce air pollution
Can serve as a Guaranteed Ride Home alternative for some companies

Locals asked to stay off Beltway for inauguration

January 13, 2009 - 5:09pm

WASHINGTON - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is adding another major route to an already unprecedented list of inauguration road closures and traffic restrictions.

O'Malley's latest recommendation - the Beltway - may be hard for a lot of people to swallow.

"For those of you who are Marylanders, on Inauguration Day, if there is any way that you can avoid traveling on 495, you would be doing all of your neighbors who are coming from around the country to attend the inauguration a tremendous service," O'Malley said at a high-level news conference Tuesday.

O'Malley said the Beltway cuts right through the most densely-populated parts of Maryland, but will be counted on to carry a great volume of diverted traffic on Jan. 20.

Meanwhile, the inauguration isn't just putting a strain on traffic in our region - it's having a big impact on local budgets.

O'Malley, Va. Gov. Tim Kaine and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty are requesting federal money to help pay for the inauguration.

So how much is the inauguration costing taxpayers in D.C., Md. and Virginia?

Fenty puts the price tag for local governments at $75 million.

On Tuesday afternoon, President George Bush declared an emergency in the District to give the nation's capital more access to federal money for the inauguration.

In the past, the national capital region has never been fully reimbursed for national security events like the inauguration.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inauguration Security to be Highest Ever


Inauguration, The Obama Presidency
(Jan. 15) - This year's inauguration is expected to set many records: the largest crowds, most bridges closed and highest security of any presidential swearing-in.
Barack Obama's inauguration Tuesday is considered a National Special Security Event, a federal designation that puts the Secret Service in charge of security for the entire day. But this year the special security tag has been extended to four days, starting when the president-elect starts making his way to Washington from Philadelphia by train Saturday.

"It will be the most security, as far as I'm aware, that any inauguration's had," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

Intelligence officials say there are no specific threats to the inauguration. But the high visibility of the event, the presence of dignitaries and the significance of swearing in the first black president make it a vulnerable target.
Bridges into Washington and about 3.5 square miles of downtown will be closed Tuesday. The security perimeter covers more of the city than in previous inaugurations.

Thousands of extra police, military troops and law enforcement agents, including plain clothes officers roaming the crowds, will be on hand to handle the potentially 2 million people who could descend on the nation's capital.

People attending the ceremony and parade can expect to be searched by machines, security personnel or both. Precautions will range from the routine — magnetometers, like those used at airports — to countersnipers trained to hit a target the size of a teacup saucer from 1,000 yards away.

There will be undercover officers, bomb sniffing dogs and air patrols. Washington's 5,265 surveillance cameras, spread around the city, are expected to be fed into a multi-agency command center. Including the Secret Service, 58 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are providing security.

"We're nearing the event and all of the planning that we've been doing for all this time is starting to come together," Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley said.
The agency is the overall lead for security, but issues and operational decisions are handled collaboratively by all involved, Wiley said.

Security commanders will be a central command center. As different situations arise, they will talk to each other about how to address them. If a decision is made, for instance, to use tear gas, the commander of the jurisdiction of the incident will give instructions. So if the incident is on the National Mall, it would be the Park Police communicating the orders to the officers in the field.

Chertoff, whose department includes the Secret Service, will not leave his position until the day after Obama is sworn in. Chertoff will be the only member of President Bush's Cabinet — except Defense Secretary Robert Gates, whom Obama asked to keep that job — to remain in his position after Bush leaves office.

Thousands of officers from 40 police jurisdictions will line the 137-mile route from Philadelphia to Washington on Saturday. Crowds are expected to gather at numerous spots, including overpasses, parking lots and commuter train stations. Obama is retracing the journey of Abraham Lincoln, who also rode to his inauguration on a train from Philadelphia. Lincoln was smuggled under cover of darkness from one train station to another to avoid a feared assassination attempt.

The Metropolitan Police Department's 4,100 officers and an additional 4,064 officers from police departments across the country will be on duty, said John Cohen, a senior adviser in the terrorism information sharing office of the director of national intelligence. Cohen said they have all completed a special online training course to help them detect and report suspicious activity that could be related to terrorism, such as photographing restricted sites, collecting information about secure areas and stealing official uniforms.

The city has also trained some employees in the public works department, said Patrick Burke, the police department's assistant chief for homeland security. "The purpose is to get as many people collecting suspicious activity reporting as possible," Burke said.

The FBI has started a system to share tips about possible terrorist threats with local police agencies.

For the first time, the president declared an emergency in the District of Columbia in advance of the inauguration. That will cover 100 percent of eligible local inauguration costs for emergency protective measures on Tuesday. It is in addition to the $15 million Congress set aside for Washington inauguration security costs.
The large crowds predicted for the events raise logistical, security and public safety concerns.

"It only takes a minor event to create a stampede of people," said Wendell Shingler, former director of the Federal Protective Service, which provides security around government buildings.

Messaging System in Place for Metro Residents during Innauguration - Get Critical Announcements

Residents and visitors can enroll in Alert DC or Arlington Alert for timely alerts and critical announcements during Inaugural Week
PR Newswire

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- With 2 million people expected to attend the historic swearing in of President-elect Barack Obama, 58 law enforcement agencies in the District of Columbia (DC) and surrounding jurisdictions will rely on Alert DC, an interoperable emergency text messaging system provided by Cooper Notification, to coordinate the largest security and safety operation for a presidential inauguration in the nation's history. Cooper Notification is a platform of Cooper Industries, Ltd., (NYSE: CBE).

Powered by Cooper Notification's patented Roam Secure Alert Network(TM) (RSAN(TM)), the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) and their counterparts in surrounding counties and cities will be able to efficiently respond to threats by sending text messages to coordinate security and emergency efforts among the different law enforcement agencies, including the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), US Secret Service, US Capitol Police, and the US Military or targeted groups such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Law enforcement personnel can reply to alerts through RSAN's two-way communications system.

Alert DC was launched in 2002 to quickly mobilize first responders and key personnel. "What better way to communicate to all of the different agencies during the largest security operation than with an interoperable system that has been reliable and effective for DC HSEMA and the MPD for more than five years," said Ratna Reddi, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Cooper Notification.

To create a safer and more secure environment for the 56th Presidential Inauguration, Alert DC will also allow officials to communicate emergency information to the public via text messages during the four-day ceremony at the nation's capitol, where more than 70 inaugural events will take place from
Jan. 18 - 21.

"If you plan on joining the hundreds of thousands of people attending the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama or will just be visiting DC during this time frame, we encourage you to sign up for Alert DC or Arlington Alert," said Reddi. "Alert DC and Arlington Alert will help you prepare and respond to emergencies. Alerts aren't limited to violence and terrorism. You can also receive information on inclement weather, road closures and transportation issues."

Residents and visitors in the Washington DC area can sign up for Alert DC at
or can be automatically enrolled by texting DC to 411911 from a text-enabled device.

Arlington, Va. residents and visitors can sign up for Arlington Alert at or by texting 1801 to 411911. Those wishing to receive alerts only during the Inauguration period can do so by checking "Inaugural Alerts" on the registration page.

Cooper Notification has deployed more than 230 RSAN systems across the United States, including major metropolitan areas in Orlando, New Orleans,
Philadelphia, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as state agencies, colleges, airports, and hospitals. Added Reddi, "The 2009 inaugural activities represent another instance where the superior technology and innovation of RSAN will be used to streamline communication and enable safety when it matters most."

About Cooper Notification
Cooper Notification, a solution platform of The Cooper Safety Division, is comprised of several businesses with decades of experience and innovation in the development of high quality products and solutions. With the ever present need to protect, alert and inform, Cooper Notification is focused on meeting the growing demand for personnel and property safety. We are the source for notification solutions supporting Fire, Security, Hazardous area, Mass Notification, Voice evacuation and Industrial Signaling applications and operating under the powerful global brands of Fulleon, MEDC, Roam Secure, SAFEPATH, WAVES and Wheelock. For more information, visit the web site at .

About Cooper Industries
Cooper Industries, Ltd. (NYSE: CBE) is a global manufacturer with 2007 revenues of $5.9 billion, approximately 87% of which are from electrical products. Founded in 1833, Cooper's sustained level of success is attributable to a constant focus on innovation, evolving business practices while maintaining the highest ethical standards, and meeting customer needs. The Company has eight operating divisions with leading market share positions and world-class products and brands including: Bussmann electrical and electronic fuses; Crouse-Hinds and CEAG explosion-proof electrical equipment; Halo and Metalux lighting fixtures; and Kyle and McGraw-Edison power systems products. With this broad range of products, Cooper is uniquely positioned for several long-term growth trends including the global infrastructure build- out, the need to improve the reliability and productivity of the electric grid, the demand for higher energy-efficient products and the need for improved electrical safety. In 2007, sixty percent of total sales were to customers in the industrial and utility end-markets and 34% of total sales were to customers outside the United States. Cooper, which has more than 31,500 employees and manufacturing facilities in 23 countries as of 2007, is incorporated in Bermuda with administrative headquarters in Houston, TX.
For more information, visit the web site at .
For information contact: Marla Moran 941.487.2300 ext. 2318

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dulles Rail Project Moving Toward March Construction Start

The Dulles Metrorail Project, a new 23-mile transit line connecting Northern Virginia to the rest of the region, is moving into its final phase. The Federal Transit Administration is expected to soon forward a recommendation of approval to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and to the Office of Management and Budget for a final decision, which would be a significant milestone for the project.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) previously announced construction has been approved to start on March 2, 2009 at a renegotiated contract price of $1.63 billion. Ownership of the Dulles Toll Road was transferred from the Commonwealth of Virginia to MWAA on November 1, 2008.

The project will be built in two phases. The first phase will extend Metro from the Orange Line between East and West Falls Church stations to Wiehle Avenue and includes four stations in Tysons Corner. The expected completion date for Phase 1 is July 31, 2013. Phase 2 would extend Metro through Reston and Herndon to Dulles Airport and Route 772 in Loudoun County.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is committed to bringing rail to the Dulles Corridor, and is continuing to work with all of its partners to ensure the timely completion of this project.

For more information about this project, visit the MetroRail webpage by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Note from the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce Workforce Development Program!

Dear Chamber Members,

We are excited to share with you, once again, our four-minute video that was filmed by Cox Media. It can be viewed at the link below.

The “American Dream Team initiative / ESL for Employment” is posted on YouTube, which you can view at this link:

Please feel free to share this link with others.

Additionally, please read the news blurb below my signature about the program and some upcoming information/registration events.

On behalf of the Dulles Regional Chamber and our partnership with NOVA, I would like to thank you for your help and support in spreading the word about this excellent opportunity.

Please do not hesitate to call with any questions.

Maureen Erickson, Ed. D.
Workforce Development Liaison

direct: 571.323.5304 | main number: 571.323.5300. | fax: 703.956.6553


Partial Scholarships Available for New ESL for Employment Courses

If you have advanced your English skills and have US work documentation, but are still stuck in a low-paying job, you may qualify for a 50% matching scholarship for upcoming ESL for Employment classes! Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce are now enrolling qualified participants at many Northern Virginia locations for new ESL for Employment classes that start in February 2009. To qualify for the matching scholarship, applicants need to be from moderate-income households, complete NOVA’s ESL screening test and present documentation needed to work for U.S. employers.

NOVA invites interested applicants to attend any of three upcoming information/registration events to learn more about the program, hear from one of the participating employers, apply for the program, and be eligible for a drawing for a $100 tuition check given away at each open house event:

Chantilly: January 21st , from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

@ the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce, 3901 Centerview Drive

Just show up, OR call NOVA at 703-450-2551

Reston: January 22nd, from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

@ NOVA’s Reston 2 Center, 1831 Wiehle Ave, 3rd floor

Just show up, OR call NOVA at 703-450-2551

Annandale: February 2nd, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

@ NOVA’s Annandale Campus, Ernst Cultural Center, Seminar Rooms

Just show up, OR call NOVA at 703-323-3323

To learn more about any of NOVA’s 8 ESL for Employment class locations for the Spring 2009 semester, call NOVA at 703-764-7779 or email us at


McLEAN, VA: Aviation Facilities Company, Inc. (AFCO) announced today that it has completed the acquisition of the trade name and assets of AvPORTS, which includes seven U.S. airport management contracts, from Macquarie Aviation North America, effective January 1, 2009.

The assets being acquired by AFCO include management contracts to manage the airports on behalf of local governments at Albany International Airport (ALB) in Albany, New York; Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Republic Airport (FRG) in Farmingdale, New York; Stewart International Airport (SWF) in the City of Newburgh and the Town of New Windsor, New York; Teterboro Airport (TEB) in Teterboro, New Jersey; Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport (HVN) in New Haven, Connecticut; and Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, New York.

“We are very excited about our acquisition of the AvPORTS assets”, said Francis X. Chambers, Jr., President and CEO of AFCO. “AvPORTS is a well respected company with a terrific management team that is rich in history and will complement AFCO as it continues to grow and expand its aviation business”.

AvPORTS originated more than 80 years ago as Pam Am World Services, a division of Pam American Airlines and in subsequent buyouts has operated under the name of Johnson Controls World Services and American Port Services. AvPORTS is currently one of the largest private airport management companies in the U.S. with more than 500 employees.

AFCO is a leading developer and manager of airport infrastructure in the United States, operating over 8 million square feet of on-airport cargo warehouse and apron space, fixed based operations, ground support equipment facilities, hangars and off-airport parking. AFCO has financed close to $500,000,000 of facilities and operations at 29 airports, including Albany; Austin; Bakersfield, California; Baltimore-Washington; Chicago Midway; Dallas-Ft. Worth; Dayton; Detroit Metro; Hartford, Connecticut; Houston Intercontinental; Indianapolis; Jackson; Jacksonville; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles; Louisville; Orlando; Peoria; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Providence; Reading, Pennsylvania; Richmond; Rickenbacker, Ohio; Seattle-Tacoma; and Washington Dulles International Airports. In a joint venture, AFCO developed an apron and taxiway at London Luton Airport and is a minority owner of Coventry International Airport, both in the UK. AFCO is also the lead developer and a minority owner of the first privately funded commercial airport in US history in Branson, Missouri, which is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in May, 2009.

Contact: Chuck Stipancic, Executive Vice President & COO

Heading To The Inauguration?

RICHMOND, VA., January 12, 2009 - The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), Virginia State Police and Virginia Department of Transportation today announced that transit details are now available for people traveling through Virginia to Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2009.

Since personal vehicles are restricted from traveling from Virginia into Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day, motorists planning to drive or carpool to the event must use an alternative form of transportation to enter the city.

Virginia has the following public transportation options available for access into Washington on January 20, 2009:

Reserve a ticket on Virginia Railway Express (VRE) or Amtrak for service into Washington, D.C., and drive to the appropriate rail station
Drive to a Northern Virginia Metrorail station and take Metrorail into the city
Drive to a local bus stop that offers free service to Metrorail
Drive to a local bus stop that offers free shuttle service to a pedestrian bridge
Drive to a park-and-ride lot to be served by transit and take a shuttle bus to Metrorail
Hire a taxi or other for-hire vehicle for service into the city
Reserve a seat on a charter bus
Metrorail, Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and Amtrak are the primary transportation choices for travel from Virginia to Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day. A key feature of the Commonwealth's plan is that all Virginia bus routes that serve Metrorail stations will provide free service for the day.

"Providing free bus service to Metrorail will make travel easier and encourage more people to take advantage of Virginia's transit options on Inauguration Day. The normal flow of transportation into Washington, D.C. has been adjusted for January 20 to help accommodate a significant increase in traffic, so it's important for travelers to review the choices available, create a detailed plan and stay tuned for transportation updates as we get closer to the event," said DRPT's Chief of Public Transportation, Corey Hill.

Bus Service and Metrorail Options

Virginia transit operators will operate service on Inauguration Day, but many systems will have a modified schedule. For transportation into Washington, D.C., bus operators will primarily provide service to Metrorail stations, where travelers can transfer to Metrorail for transportation into the city. Some operators are also providing bus service to bridges that are accessible for pedestrians to walk into the District. The Memorial Bridge, Chain Bridge and Key Bridge will be open for pedestrian and bike access on January 20.

Bus service will also be provided to Metrorail from designated park-and-ride lots in Northern Virginia. Motorists traveling to park-and-ride lots are encouraged to carpool to maximize parking availability and to help manage highway congestion near the lots. Lots will fill up quickly, so plan to arrive early. Some transit operators will begin operating service as early as 4 a.m. on January 20. Not all park-and-ride lots will be served by transit on Inauguration Day. Contact transit operators to confirm service availability.

All Virginia bus routes that serve Metrorail stations, pedestrian access points and park-and-ride lots in Northern Virginia will be free on Inauguration Day. For those who must drive to access transit, parking is limited and available on a first-come first-serve basis.

In addition, Metrobus is offering free shuttle bus service from Virginia directly into Washington, D.C.

Metrorail will operate between 4 a.m. on January 20 and 2 a.m. on January 21, with rush hour service between 4 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Inauguration Day. Metrorail will charge peak fare during rush hour service and standard fare at other times. Visit for additional information.

Listings for Northern Virginia transit operators by locality and designated park-and-ride lots are available online at Hours of operation, schedules and routes may vary by transit operator. Please visit operator Web sites or contact transit operators by phone for detailed information.

Passenger Rail Options

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) will initiate service routes into Washington, D.C. at 5:05 a.m. and will initiate return trip trains at 1:30 p.m. on Inauguration Day. Tickets are available through mail-order only and must be reserved in advance. No one will be permitted to purchase VRE tickets at VRE stations on Inauguration Day. Visit for additional information.

Currently, Amtrak trains from Virginia to Washington, D.C., that will serve the Inauguration Day events are sold out. Tickets may become available as reservations change. Visit for additional information.

Planning Ahead

Creating a personal transportation plan is essential to ensure the safest and most efficient travel experience in the Northern Virginia region on Inauguration Day. Travelers should take the following steps to create a transportation plan:

Consider the transportation choices and choose the best option.
Visit the transit/rail operator Web site or call to determine schedules, routes and fares.
Create an itinerary with route numbers/names, pick-up locations and times, fares, transfer locations and drop-off locations for both your destination and return trip.
Determine the round-trip fare (if applicable) and follow the transit/rail operator's instructions for fare collection. For example, some services require exact change.
Consult transit/rail operator guidelines regarding acceptable carry-on items.
Check the transit/rail operator Web site frequently for changes and adjust your itinerary accordingly.
Those in the Northern Virginia region not attending Inauguration activities should anticipate and plan for significant traffic congestion and delays. Those needing to travel are encouraged to also seek alternate means of transportation or alternate traffic routes. Local Web sites should be checked in advance for city and county road closures and traffic restrictions.

Employers in the Capitol region are encouraged to consider offering telework, flex time and/or other leave options for their employees on January 20.

More Virginia-specific Inauguration information is available on the Virginia State Police Web site at

Monday, January 12, 2009

Riding Your Bicycle to Work from the website Total Bike

by: Jeff Haug

If more people biked to work we would have cleaner air and quieter streets that require less maintenance. So Why Not Commute By Bike? Here are 12 common excuses and 12 answers to those excuses:

1. It's too far to ride
If you live too far from work, consider driving part of the way and riding the rest. This is especially useful if you work in a traffic-congested area. Reducing of motor vehicle use will help the environment and becoming a bicycle commuter will create more awareness of other cycle commuters when you drive. Or you can ride the bus part way. Bike racks have been installed on many full sized city buses. Taking your bike along for the ride saves fuel and money. A $10 monthly bus pass plus a bike can take you anywhere you want to go.

2. It takes too long
You'd be surprised! Because of traffic in urban areas, cycling generally takes less time than driving for trips of three miles or less, and about the same time for three to five mile trips. For longer trips, consider that you're saving time by combining your daily exercise with your commute. Also, don't forget your savings of time, money (and the environmental benefit) when you eliminate visits to the gas pump.

3. I'd have to get up much earlier if I rode my bicycle
If your commute is less than 10 miles round trip, the difference in commute time will be insignificant. But even if your commute is longer, 30 minutes of extra sleep won't be nearly as invigorating as an early morning ride. You'll arrive at work alert and refreshed. Likewise, your evening ride home should leave you more relaxed since you won't face the aggravation of sitting in rush hour traffic. And you won't have to rush off to an evening workout to unwind. You'll have already accomplished that!

4. I'm out of shape
If you leave yourself plenty of time and go at an easy pace, you'll find cycling no more difficult than walking. As you ride more, you'll ease your way into better shape, building fitness that will be a regular part of your schedule. If you have health problems, consult your family doctor for suggestions on getting started.

5. I can't afford a special commuting bicycle
You don't need one. Your old beater bike gathering dust in the garage will suffice if properly adjusted and maintained, and it's less attractive to thieves. If you have a recreational bicycle you can outfit it with a lightweight rack and bag or use a fanny pack to carry necessary commute items. With the fixed cost of operating an automobile at around $.30/mile, the money you would save commuting by bicycle on an average 10 mile round trip would buy you a $400 bicycle in six months time. (Not to mention the health benefits or the savings to the environment.

6. There's no secure place for my bike
There is probably a storage room or closet where your bike can be secured behind a locked door. Maybe you can even take it to your office - what a status symbol! Or check and see if parking is available in nearby buildings or garages. Otherwise, fasten it to an immovable object with a u-bolt lock, preferably where you can see it.

7. I have to dress nice for work
Some bicycle commuters simply ride in their business attire - they seem to command more respect from motorists. Most ride in casual or cycling clothes and change when they arrive. You can carry your change of clothes in a pack or in panniers on the bike, or even transport them back and forth on days when you don't ride.

8. I can't shower at work
Depending on the weather, you may not need a shower if you ride at a leisurely pace. If you do, take a washcloth, soap, towel and deodorant and clean up at the restroom sink, or look for a public facility or health club within walking distance of your workplace where you can shower. Then encourage your employer to install showers where you work.

9. What if it's rainy or cold
Start as a fair weather bicycle commuter - when the forecast is bad, don't bike. Some people may conquer the elements and commute every day, but it doesn't mean you have to. If you only ride when the weather report is favorable, it will still make a dramatic improvement. The more you enjoy bicycle commuting, the more you'll look forward to your daily ride. You may eventually decide to invest in rainwear and cold weather gear so you can commute year-round!

10. It's not safe to ride in traffic
You can share the road successfully with cars by riding lawfully and assertively. The fear of riding in traffic is often much greater than the actual danger. Most bicycle accidents involve children and cyclists who don't obey the law. Minimize risk by riding properly - visibly, predictably and following all traffic laws. In stop-and-go traffic, a fit cyclist can generally keep up with the traffic flow, so it's acceptable to maintain your place in the roadway. Hugging the curb invites danger as cars try to squeeze past you. To help prevent injury always wear a helmet. You can also reduce the risk of riding in traffic by using less congested secondary roads. You may travel a few extra miles, but you'll be able to enjoy the ride, a worthwhile trade-off.

11. I'd have to ride in the dark
Wear light colored reflective clothing, use a good lighting system and choose a route that avoids major thoroughfares. There are a variety of bike-mounted lights that can help you see and be seen.

12. I need my car for work
Some jobs do require an automobile, but many transportation tasks could be handled equally well on a bike. Meet with your employer and see if your company might not benefit from a more environmentally friendly image if you conducted your business by bike. Consider that many traditional tasks adapt well to cycling, whether it's police work, meter reading, postal delivery, etc. If you absolutely cannot use a bike at work, then use your bike for personal errands at work and at home.

Group's plan for Inauguration Day: Telework

By Grant Gross , IDG News Service , 01/06/2009

With Washington, D.C., residents bracing for traffic gridlock and overwhelmed public transportation systems on Inauguration Day, one advocacy group is encouraging employers to allow their workers to telecommute.

Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, is the day U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in as president. The swearing-in ceremony, parade and other related events are expected to draw up to 4 million people to Washington, which has a year-round population of about 590,000. News reports and bloggers have warned about potential chaos, and many D.C.-area residents say they want to be as far away from the festivities as possible.

Some organizations in Washington are giving employees the day off, but other employers don't have that option, said Cindy Auten, general manager of Telework Exchange, a D.C.-area group that advocates for telecommuting. If the large crowd estimates prove correct, traffic gridlock will likely continue throughout much of the week, with many out-of-towners staying in Washington for several days, she noted.

"There are a lot of organizations in the D.C. area that can't just shut down," Auten said. "This is a good opportunity to try teleworking."

Several U.S. government agencies and area businesses that already allow telecommuting are using the inauguration as a test of their telework readiness during a disaster, Auten said. Auten hasn't yet heard from organizations new to telecommuting about plans for Inauguration Day, but Telework Exchange is ready to assist those groups, she said.

Among the tools on Telework Exchange's Web site is the Telework Gizmo, which assesses a worker's ability to telecommute.

Jon Rochetti, author of the DC Traveler blog, wrote that crowds could cause several problems during Inauguration Day. It's very likely that people using Washington's Metro subway service will face several hour waits, and mobile phone networks may be overwhelmed, he wrote.

People riding chartered buses into Washington may face problems getting from remote parking spots to central Washington, and it'll be tough to find a parking spot at any metro station, he predicted. And forget about getting a sit-down meal in the area of the National Mall, he added.

"Getting a meal on the Mall will require an act of Congress," he wrote. "You should be able to find plenty of hot dog vendors around the Mall on inauguration day. But if you want to wait out the exit rush after the ceremony, at a restaurant anywhere near the Mall, expect a multi-hour wait."

Columnist Lyric Winik of The Daily Beast predicted Inauguration Day will be "miserable."

Even the inaugural balls aren't as glamourous as they may sound, Winik wrote. "The outdoor lines begin long before you even reach the building," she wrote. "Four years ago, it snowed on the morning of the inauguration. The streets and sidewalks were icy and slushy. Men skidded in patent dress shoes, women tottered in four-inch Louboutins. Everyone shivered. And then waited outside, airport-style, to have their bags searched, cell phones tested, IDs checked, and then to pass through the metal detector gates."

Even during normal work days, Washington is one of the worst U.S. cities for traffic jams, Auten said. "Sitting on Route 66 on an average, random Tuesday is quite painful enough," she said. "I think people are really starting to get tired of this traffic."

The IDG News Service is a Network World affiliate.

SEATTLE, WA the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters today announced

( - SEATTLE, WA – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters today announced that the federal government is making $2 million available immediately to help cover the cost of repairing flood-damaged roads in Washington state.

“Opening the more than 65 state highways that were closed because of the rain will be tough. Fixing these drowned roads shouldn’t be held up in a flood of red tape,” Secretary Peters said.

The announcement was made during a visit to Washington state with Governor Christine Gregoire, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and other federal, state and local leaders. They viewed Washington’s flooded areas and received a briefing from Washington Department of Transportation officials on the extent of damage.

“This is an immediate boost for recovery efforts that are already underway,” said Senator Murray, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee. “This funding will help to get debris cleared and get our roads and highways up and running again. It is also the first step in bringing additional federal resources back to Washington state to assist communities in the recovery process. Critical emergencies like this are exactly why I fought to include Emergency Relief Funding in the annual transportation budget.”

The quick-release funds, which do not require a local match like most federal-aid, are a down payment on future funding which will be made available once the state has completed damage assessments and repair costs are more fully known, Secretary Peters said. Specific locations along the damaged roads targeted for the emergency funds have not yet been identified, she added.

The state can use the funding made available today to pay for clean-up and recovery work, including clearing debris and re-routing traffic, as well as for new construction to replace damaged sections of highway.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Have You Ever Wondered? What is Transportation Demand Management?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Transportation demand management or travel demand management (both TDM) is the application of strategies and policies to reduce automobile travel demand, or to redistribute this demand in space or in time.[1][2]

In transport as in any network, managing demand can be a cost-effective alternative to increasing capacity. A demand management approach to transport also has the potential to deliver better environmental outcomes, improved public health and stronger communities, and more prosperous and livable cities. The techniques of TDM, applied by government transport agencies, link with and supports community movements for sustainable transport.

Background :
The term TDM has its origins in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, and is linked to the economic impacts of the sharp increase in oil prices during the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis. As long lines appeared at gas stations, it became self-evident that alternatives to single occupancy commuter travel needed to be provided in order to save energy, improve air quality, and reduce peak period congestion.[3]

The concepts of TDM borrowed from mainstream transport planning in Europe, which had never been based on assumptions that the private car was the best or only solution for urban mobility. For example the Dutch Transport Structure Scheme has since the 1970s required that demand for additional vehicle capacity only be met "if the contribution to societal welfare is positive", and since 1990 has included an explicit target to halve the rate of growth in vehicle traffic.[4]

Some cities outside Europe have also consistently taken a demand management approach to transport and land use planning, notably Curitiba, Brazil, Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Canada.

Relatively low and stable oil prices during the 1980's and 1990's led to significant increases in vehicle travel, both directly because people chose to travel by car more often and for greater distances, and indirectly because cities developed tracts of suburban housing, distant from shops and from workplaces, now referred to as urban sprawl. Trends in freight logistics, including a movement from rail and coastal shipping to road freight and a requirement for just in time deliveries, meant that freight traffic grew faster than general vehicle traffic.

Because vehicle travel was increasing rapidly from 1980-2000, it follows that (with a few exceptions) the techniques of demand management were not widely or successfully applied during this period. Small-scale projects to provide alternatives to single occupant commuter travel were common, but generally were led from outside the mainstream of transport planning. However many of the techniques in the demand management toolbox were developed during this period.

The British Government's marked a change in direction. In the introduction to the White Paper, Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that

We recognise that we cannot simply build our way out of the problems we face. It would be environmentally irresponsible - and would not work.

A companion document to the White Paper called Smarter Choices researched the potential to "scale up" the small and scattered demand management initiatives then occurring across Britain, and concluded that the comprehensive application of these techniques could reduce peak period car travel in urban areas by over 20%.[6]

A [7] by the United States Federal Highway Administration, was also released in 2004 and also concluded that a more proactive approach to transportation demand was an important component of overall national transport strategy.

Why manage travel demand?
The need to manage travel demand has now become urgent for a number of converging reasons.

Oil prices have now passed the previous peak in 1980, and 95% of all energy used in transport is oil. Vehicle travel in the United States, which has been rising steadily since records began, began to level out before the fuel price increases and is now in decline.[8]. Part of this decline is likely to be people making fewer trips, with potentially far-reaching economic and social consequences. Countries and cities where the car is one of many travel choices are more likely to prosper, as people can choose to drive less but are still able to travel by transit, cycle safely, walk to local shops and facilities, or choose to work or study from home.

Transport systems are responsible for 23% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and are increasing at a faster rate than any other energy using sector.[9] Demand management is central to the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from urban transportation,[10]

Increases in vehicle travel are linked to a range of health problems including poor urban air quality, road injuries and fatalities, and reduced physical activity. The World Health Organisation released a [11] in 2003, and stated that:

We are concerned that current patterns of transport, which are dominated by motorised road transport, have substantial adverse impacts on health.

The efficacy of expanded roadways in managing traffic congestion is increasingly under challenge. Much of the traffic on new or expanded roads has been shown to be induced.

A growing sustainable transport movement is mobilising public demand for investment in safer, more livable cities with a greater range of travel choices.

There is a broad range of TDM measures, including:

Transportation Management Associations: leverage public and private funds to increase the use of ridesharing and other commuting options that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
Including or improving pedestrian-oriented design elements, such as short pedestrian crossings, wide sidewalks and street trees.
Requiring users of parking to pay the costs directly, as opposed to sharing the costs indirectly with others through increased rents and tax subsidies.
Including and improving public transportation infrastructure, such as subway entrances, bus stops and routes.
Subsidizing transit costs for employees or residents.
Bicycle-friendly facilities and environments, including secure bike storage areas and showers. See Bicycle transportation engineering
Providing active transportation (AT) facilities including bike lanes and multi-use trails.
Flex-time work schedules with employers to reduce congestion at peak times
Congestion pricing tolls during peak hours.
Road space rationing by restricting travel based on license plate number, at certain times and places.
Workplace travel plans.
Roadspace reallocation, aiming to re-balance provision between private cars which often predominate due to high spatial allocations for roadside parking, and for sustainable modes.
Time, Distance and Place (TDP) Road Pricing, where road users are charged based and when, where and how much they drive. Some transportation experts believe TDP pricing is an integral part of the next generation in transportation demand management.

Bridge Rules Eased for Non-Driving Virginians - January 9, 2009

Security and transportation officials today eased rules on pedestrians walking over bridges from Virginia on Inauguration Day.

The Virginia State Police announced the “clarifications and additions” to the original plan this afternoon. Pedestrians will now be able to use all bridges to cross the Potomac, a change from an earlier policy that pedestrians could use the Memorial and Chain bridges. People will now be able to walk, bike, run or Segway across the Key, 14th Street and Roosevelt bridges, provided they keep to sidewalks and walk/bike paths.

A state police spokeswoman said that for safety, pedestrians will have to keep off the roadway, especially on the 14th Street Bridge.

“It’s not on the roadway, but the walking-biking path,” spokeswoman Corrine Geller said.
Security and transportation officials took a public shellacking yesterday after Secret Service and area transportation officials announced Wednesday that they would close all Virginia bridges across the Potomac into the District and Interstates 395 and 66 inside the Beltway to personal vehicles. The plans also cordon off a large swath of downtown Washington to help manage the unprecedented crowds expected. Maryland, in contrast, has no planned road closures.

Some members of congress, including U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-Alexandria), U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Fairfax) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), said it was important to better balance access and security.

In a letter today to the U.S. Secret Service, Moran and Connolly called for a re-examination of the policies.

“Common sense, not fear, should be guiding our transportation policies on Inauguration Day,” Moran said.

“I urge them to explore ways to provide transportation choices for Northern Virginians wishing to attend the inauguration and for key medical personnel traveling to the District, “ Connolly said.

Norton issued a statement today that said she was expressing her concern about the traffic control plan in the District to inaugural officials.

— Eric M. Weiss.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Virginia: Leading by Example

Telework is not just a flexible work arrangement, but a performance management strategy that can facilitate a new kind of outcomes-based government. So noted Aneesh Chopra, Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, during his keynote address at the October 15 Telework Exchange Town Hall Meeting. Chopra explained that the Commonwealth's telework program is enabling state agencies to improve productivity significantly, slash turnover rates and excessive leave time, and save money.

"This is not just because of the good deeds of doing right by the environment or addressing our congestion issues - both of which are obvious priorities - this is good business sense," Chopra stated, adding that telework is something his state increasingly is turning to, even as the state faces an unexpected $2.5 billion budget shortfall in the wake of the recent economic slowdown.

Under Governor Tim Kaine's leadership, Virginia has taken a more progressive and highly-successful approach to government operations by putting the emphasis on results rather than traditional measures, such as the amount of time spent on a project. That strategy, not surprisingly, includes a strong emphasis on telework, which, Chopra says, came up early and frequently when the new administration took office in 2005.

"Governor Kaine immediately acknowledged that when it comes to managing by outcomes, the very natural question is: ‘Why do we care where you work?'" Chopra recalled, noting that one of the Governor's very first actions was to create an office to promote telework, managed by Karen Jackson, and he set an ambitious goal of enabling 20 percent of the Commonwealth's workforce to telework on a regular basis by 2010. "Telework became a very natural priority for us as we thought about outcomes-based government."

As part of its performance management approach, the new administration first required that all 95 state agencies sit down and document the key outcomes they needed to achieve during the next five to ten years. These objectives and related productivity measures were published on a public Web site, to "change the lexicon of our discussion," Chopra explained.

"Now when we have a budget discussion, we talk about it in terms of: ‘How much will an incremental investment in "X" yield in terms of outcome improvement?'" he explained. "So we have an outcome goal that we hold ourselves accountable for and we have a portfolio of programs and initiatives that we now can use to measure success against those goals."

When it came to telework, Governor Kaine took a multi-pronged approach to implementing a telework culture across the Commonwealth. Chopra and his team codified the definition of telework as working at least one day per week (or 32 hours per month) out of the office; changed the eligibility standard from an opt-in to an opt-out approach; established a cross-agency technology group to develop and post information on telework best practices and guidelines, including a telework roadmap; and encouraged private sector adoption by getting pledges from some of the largest employers in the state to match the Governor's telework goals.

Strategies also included leading by example and showing - not telling - agencies how effective telework is at improving government operations.

Kaine, for example, made it a policy for his Cabinet secretaries and their staffs to telework on a regular basis and required that Chopra and other executives provide details of all telework activity in their weekly priorities report to the Governor.

"This has rocked our culture," Chopra stated. "Prior to this, the attitude was, ‘Yeah, telework is important for the agencies because those people process paper, but we're really important people in the Cabinet. It's going to be hard for us to telework.' Gov. Kaine said, ‘Not in my administration.' Now, I must report weekly who teleworked and how many days, by name. That's leading by example."

The Tax Department, meanwhile, volunteered to conduct a telework pilot program, and the effort effectively illustrated telework's benefits - but with a few surprises, Chopra noted. Teleworkers who do mail processing achieved an 80 percent improvement in productivity when compared to the standard by which they're supposed to perform, while data-entry workers at home showed efficiency rates of 110 percent above the standard. In addition, employee turnover is considerably lower among full-time teleworkers at the Tax Department, just eight percent versus the overall agency average of 58 percent. This retention rate, coupled with productivity gains, translates into $141,000 in measurable decreases in retraining and job vacancy costs.

Today, the Virginia Tax Department's top executive teleworks, as do 62 percent of its eligible workers. All of this shows, Chopra told his audience, that telework "is not a nice-to-have but a need-to-have - especially in this budgetary environment. It's why more and more agencies are looking to telework as a strategy to meet the tough goals."

To view Aneesh Chopra's October 15 keynote presentation at the Fall 2008 Town Hall Meeting, please visit

Commuting by Bike - Information from Fairfax County

Commuting by Bike

Bike Racks on Fairfax Connector Buses
Now it is easier than ever to commute by bike and bus as all of the Fairfax Connector bus fleet has been equipped with bicycle racks. Each bus has been equipped with a front-mounted rack capable of carrying two bicycles. Instructions on how to use the bike racks are available on the Fairfax Connector Web pages. An instructional DVD and brochure have been produced and are available at the Connector Stores.

Remember, there is no cost to bring your bike on board!

What about other transportation systems, can I take my bike on Metrobus, Metrorail or VRE?
All Metro buses are equipped with bicycle racks similar to those mounted on Fairfax Connector buses. There is no additional cost and there are no restrictions. For detailed information see the Bicyclists on Metrorail web page.

Certain restrictions are in place for taking your bike on Metrorail including peak period and loading restrictions. For detailed information see the Bicyclists on Metrorail web page.

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) now allows bicycles but there are restrictions. For detailed information about using your bike on VRE trains, consult the VRE On-Board Policies web page.

Other Commuting Options
Fairfax County is trying to increase your commuting options. Bicycle racks and lockers are available at most park and ride lots within the county. To find out if they are available near you, visit the Park and Ride page.

Tips for Biking to Work

Hundreds of Fairfax County commuters bike to work every day. It’s not uncommon for a commute by bike to exceeded a distance of 20 miles one way. For most, the commute is much shorter. Bicycling is a healthy, clean, economical and fun way to get to work. To get started:

Lay out a bike-friendly route
Try a practice run to see how long it takes
Try biking one day a week to start
Find co-workers or friends to commute with
If you need help in finding a route, contact your local bicycle club or bike shop, most are more than willing to assist you.

Remember, when sharing the road, make sure you wear high visibility clothing and abide by the motor vehicle laws of the Commonwealth. At night, wear reflective clothing or accessories, use a headlight and taillight and always wear a helmet.

Bike Commuter Tax Benefit Passes Both House & Senate

New Benefit for 2009

After 7 years of being tossed back and forth, the bike commuter tax benefit has finally passed both House and Senate, as part of the $700B financial services bailout package. President Bush signed the legislation almost immediately, and it is now law.

What does this legislation mean?

The bottom line is, you can get up to $20/month tax-free from your employer, if he feels like giving it to you, to reimburse you for your bike commuting expenses. Your employer can write it off as a business expense. This benefit goes into effect at the beginning of the year 2009.

The reimbursement can be “for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.”

This is similar to the tax-free reimbursements offered to transit riders, and cannot be combined with those. Multimodal commuters already getting the transit benefit cannot get the bike benefit too.

Full text of the legislation follows, as the link we supplied earlier expires:


(a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(D) Any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’.

(b) Limitation on Exclusion- Paragraph (2) of section 132(f) is amended by striking `and’ at the end of subparagraph (A), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting `, and’, and by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

`(C) the applicable annual limitation in the case of any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’.

(c) Definitions- Paragraph (5) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:


`(i) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT- The term `qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement’ means, with respect to any calendar year, any employer reimbursement during the 15-month period beginning with the first day of such calendar year for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.

`(ii) APPLICABLE ANNUAL LIMITATION- The term `applicable annual limitation’ means, with respect to any employee for any calendar year, the product of $20 multiplied by the number of qualified bicycle commuting months during such year.

`(iii) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING MONTH- The term `qualified bicycle commuting month’ means, with respect to any employee, any month during which such employee–

`(I) regularly uses the bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment, and

`(II) does not receive any benefit described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1).’.

(d) Constructive Receipt of Benefit- Paragraph (4) of section 132(f) is amended by inserting `(other than a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement)’ after `qualified transportation fringe’.

(e) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.

Two-Timing Telecommute Taxes

Telecommuting — or telework — is a critical tool that can help employees, businesses and communities weather the current financial crisis, and thrive afterward. However, right now, the nation is burdened with a powerful threat to the growth of telework: the telecommuter tax. This tax is a state penalty imposed on Americans who work for employers outside their home states and sometimes telecommute.

Proposed bi-partisan federal legislation called the Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act would abolish the telecommuter tax. To help assure that the nation can take full advantage of the economic relief telework offers, Congress must pass this bill – either as stand-alone legislation or as part of a new economic stimulus package.

Relief for Employees

Working from home (or alternative sites close to home) can save struggling families money on gasoline, parking, train and bus fares, dry cleaning, business wardrobes and work-week meals. They can save on dependent care by providing some of the necessary care themselves during the time they previously spent commuting.

Telework can also relieve the considerable strain on Americans nearing retirement who have unexpectedly lost their pensions and must now continue working. Working indefinitely may be a hardship for many older employees. Some may not be able, physically, to continue making a daily round-trip commute. Some may need to move closer to their adult children who live out-of-state, either to receive physical help from them, or to help them with child-care costs by baby-sitting. If Americans who have been robbed of their retirements can work from home at least some of the time, they can stay on the job without having to travel as often or live as close to their offices.

Relief for Employers

Employers (both public and private) can use telework to slash real estate and energy expenses. When fewer employees work on-site every day, employers need to rent, heat, cool and light less office space.

Implementing telework can also reduce recruitment and turnover costs: Employers offering flexibility can attract top-tier candidates from a wide geographic area, and generate loyalty among valued employees.

Telework can reduce business interruption costs when an emergency or other major disruption occurs near the main office. If, for example, a severe storm, fire, bomb threat or transit strike affects the employer’s area, a staff trained to work remotely can keep operations running smoothly.

And organizations adopting telework can become more productive. Employees can replace commute time with work time; concentrate better because they are less exposed to the frequent interruptions typical in busy offices; reduce absenteeism by completing tasks at home instead of taking whole days off when they have to meet non-work responsibilities, like caring for sick children, and reduce “presenteeism”, the phenomenon of employees showing up at the office when they are too sick to be productive and are likely to compromise the health and productivity of co-workers.

Relief for Communities

Telework can bring new Internet-based jobs to rural areas with sagging economies. It can also bring new home buyers to such regions: Americans who want to maintain their high paced, big-city careers in a slower paced, more scenic environment. A significant growth in the population of home-based workers in these communities can also produce growth in businesses catering to their needs, such as home office supply stores and business service providers.

The Telecommuter Penalty Tax

Despite the important help telework can provide during and after the financial meltdown, states may punish nonresident teleworkers by subjecting them to a telecommuter tax. New York has been particularly aggressive on this front.

Under the “convenience of the employer” rule, when a nonresident of New York and his New York employer agree that the employee may sometimes work from home, New York will tax him on his entire income, both the income he earns when he works in New York, and the income he earns when he works at home, in a different state. Because telecommuters’ home states can also tax the wages telecommuters earn at home, they are taxed twice on those wages.

In some cases, a telecommuter’s home state may give him a credit for the taxes he pays New York on the income he earns at home. However, even in such cases, the employee may be penalized for telecommuting. When New York taxes income at a higher rate than the home state, the telecommuter must pay taxes on his home state income at the higher rate.

By subjecting nonresident employees to double or excessive taxation if they telecommute, a state like New York needlessly limits the strategies available for coping with our ailing economy.

Harm to Employers

By deterring telework, the telecommuter tax frustrates businesses trying to decentralize their workers and prevents them from exploiting telework’s business benefits.

In addition, the hefty payroll obligations the telecommuter tax imposes on businesses can force companies to relocate. Indeed, The New York Times reported this year on a small business that planned to leave New York because tackling the state's claims under the convenience of the employer rule proved too draining. (See David S. Joachim, "Telecommuters Cry 'Ouch' to the Tax Gods," The New York Times, Special Section on Small Business, Feb. 20, 2008.)

Further, by thwarting the growth of telework, the telecommuter tax encourages traffic congestion, a menace to productivity. Excessive traffic can, for example, cause employees to arrive late for work and delay customer deliveries.

Harm to States

In addition to employees and employers, telecommuters' states of residence also suffer under the telecommuter tax. Consider a Virginia resident who telecommutes most of the time to his New York employer. If Virginia grants the telecommuter a credit for taxes paid to New York on his home state income, Virginia forfeits its tax revenue to New York. In so doing, Virginia effectively subsidizes public services in New York (like transportation, police, fire and other emergency services) while it makes the same services available to its resident who is working in Virginia. States currently struggling with steep budgetary shortfalls cannot afford to cede their own revenue to other states. The employee who telecommutes, meanwhile, suffers under a reduced budget for home state spending.

Even the state imposing the tax loses. In addition to driving business away, New York’s telework tax policy can drive part-time telecommuters away. Because the convenience of the employer rule applies only to nonresidents who spend time working in New York, nonresidents can avoid the rule by avoiding the state: They can increase their telecommuting from part-time to full-time, or take jobs in their home states. When nonresidents stop traveling to New York for work, New York gives up the opportunity to tax any of their wages, and New York restaurants, hotels and other businesses lose the income these teleworkers would have generated on their commuting days.

The Remedy

The Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act would eliminate these ills, prohibiting states like New York from taxing the income nonresidents earn at home in other states.

The bill has bi-partisan support in both Houses of Congress, including the support of lawmakers from Connecticut, Maine, Mississippi and Virginia. Outside Congress, the measure has been endorsed by advocates for telecommuters, taxpayers, homeowners and small businesses.

To help assure that the greatest number of employees and businesses can maximize telework’s economic benefits – during the current crisis and afterward – Congress should pass the Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act. Whether as an addition to a new stimulus package or in a separate measure, Washington must see to it that telecommuter tax fairness becomes the law.

by Nicole Belson Goluboff 11/09/2008

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Metro Plans for Inauguration Day

Metrorail will operate rush hour service for 17 consecutive hours (4 a.m. to 9 p.m.), will stay open for two extra hours (until 2 a.m.), charge $4 for parking at its facilities and will be one important transportation alternative for people who are planning to attend the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, January 20, 2009.

Metro officials expect extremely crowded conditions on Inauguration Day. Metrorail stations and trains will be packed as people head to the Inauguration, and expect to see even tighter conditions afterward. Expect the crowds to be huge with hundreds of thousands of people expected to be in the nation's capital not only for Inauguration Day, but for the days preceding it as well.

The U.S. Secret Service has deemed the Inauguration as a special national security event and due to security measures, the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter station on Metro's Green and Yellow Lines and the Smithsonian station on the Blue and Orange Lines, will be closed all day on Inauguration Day, Tuesday, January 20.

Virginia Prepares for Inauguration Traffic

Motorists urged to plan ahead, expect major delays

FAIRFAX, Va. - Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation are preparing for thousands of buses and vehicles to travel through Virginia for the Inauguration on January 20, 2009, and urge visitors to know what to expect before leaving home to ensure a safe and less stressful trip.

We urge motorists - whether traveling by bus, van or car - to plan their route well in advance, know what bridges and roads will be restricted and where they will park, make sure their vehicle is in top operating condition, travel with a full tank of gas and prepare for long delays and a lot of walking, said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent.

Road and Bridge Restrictions:
Beginning at 2 a.m. Tuesday, January 20, personal vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickups, vans, etc.) will not be allowed to enter Washington from Virginia. Those driving are encouraged to seek out public transportation to access the District on Inauguration Day. (See Public Transit Resources for more information). Personal vehicles will only be able to enter Washington by driving in from designated Maryland routes.
Beginning at 2 a.m. Tuesday, January 20, only authorized vehicles - emergency vehicles, buses, taxis, and for-hire limos and car services - will be permitted to travel northbound on Interstate 395 and eastbound on Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway/I-495. All other traffic heading to Washington on Interstate 95 will be diverted at the Springfield interchange (Exits 170B and 170C) onto I-495 North (Inner Loop) or I-495/I-95 East (Outer Loop). All general traffic traveling eastbound on I-66 and toward Washington on the Dulles Toll Road will also be diverted to the Capital Beltway/I-495.

Only authorized vehicles will be allowed to cross the 14th Street Bridge, Roosevelt Bridge and Key Bridge, all of which lead from Virginia into Washington, D.C. The Memorial Bridge and Chain Bridge will be open to pedestrians only.

To augment patrols and expedite emergency response along Interstates 95, 66 and 495, Virginia State Police will be bringing in several hundred troopers from around the state to the Northern Virginia region. Increases in manpower and resources will begin Monday, January 19, and continue through Wednesday, January 21.

I-95/395 HOV Schedule:
· From 4 p.m. Saturday, January 17 until 3 a.m. Tuesday, January 20, the I-395/95 HOV lanes will be northbound for vehicles carrying three or more people (HOV-3).
· From 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, only buses and authorized vehicles will be permitted to use the I-95/395 HOV lanes from Route 234/Dumfries to Washington.
· The I-95/395 HOV lanes will open to HOV-3 traffic at 5 a.m. Wednesday, January 21.
· The I-95/395 HOV lanes will be open southbound for HOV-3 vehicles from 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 20, until 3 a.m. Wednesday, January 21, and from 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 21, until 9 p.m. or later.
I-66, Dulles Toll Road and Dulles Connector Road HOV Schedule:
· From 4 p.m. Saturday, January 17, until 3 a.m. Tuesday, January 20, HOV-2 will be in effect eastbound.
· From 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, January 20, only buses and authorized vehicles will be allowed to use the eastbound HOV lanes.
· From 6 p.m. Tuesday, January 20, until 9 p.m. Wednesday, January 21, HOV-2 will be in effect westbound.
VDOT will help motorists by:
· Pre-treating ramps, bridges and critical locations on highways and major commuter routes with anti-icing chemicals regardless of the forecast. Major commuter lots in Northern Virginia will also be pre-treated.
· Suspending all lane closures in Virginia for construction or maintenance work on Interstates 66, 95, 395 and 495. In addition, lane closures will be suspended on heavily traveled roads in Northern Virginia to include Routes 1, 7, 28, 50, 234, 236, the Dulles Toll Road, Fairfax County Parkway and Prince William Parkway. This restriction will be in effect from Friday, January 16, until noon, Wednesday, January 21.
· Providing portable toilets at the I-66 and I-95 rest areas in Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg.
· Doubling the number of safety service patrols on the interstates on January 20. Forty patrollers will be pre-positioned and available to assist stranded motorists and provide traffic control. The patrol wears bright, highly visible uniforms and drives specially equipped pickup trucks.
· Re-timing traffic signals on major routes as needed to keep traffic moving as best possible.
· Staging seven wreckers at locations along interstates to remove disabled vehicles. Motorists can stay informed by:
· Calling 511 from a land line or a cell phone for the latest traffic and travel information. Drivers are reminded to only dial 911 or #77 on a cellular phone in emergency situations.
· Tuning into Virginias highway advisory radio for information on delays and possible detours due to accidents or congestion.
· Getting the latest traffic conditions and travel times on overhead
and roadside message signs on I-95, 495, 66 and 81, and Route 29.
· Carrying an emergency kit in their vehicles to include an ice scraper and brush, wiper fluid, blankets, extra warm clothing, a bag of sand or cat litter; flashlight and cell phone, with extra batteries for each; jumper cables; water, snacks, paper towels and a first aid kit.