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Telework Incentive Program offers cost cutting, time saving solutions for employers and commuters

Less traffic congestion combined with fewer employees arriving late or stressed is a winning combination likely to attract Houston-Galveston area employers who qualify for a teleworking program funded through a federal grant.

The Regional Telework Incentive Pilot Program is administered by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), and businesses who apply and submit a telework application can receive a share of the more than $500,000 available through federal grant funding.

H-GAC is accepting applications through March 21, 2014 to distribute the grant funding among companies who meet program requirements. Every interested company must set a goal to increase its number of teleworkers to at least 100 within the eight-county Houston-Galveston area by the end of 2014. Applications will be evaluated and funded on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been committed. Information on how to qualify for the Regional Telework Incentive Pilot Program is available by calling 877-512-7333 or by visiting www.mysolutionis.com.

“Teleworking is a proven method for reducing long employee commutes on busy corridors while enhancing regional mobility and air quality,” said Shelley Whitworth, H-GAC air quality program manager. “Many companies need help getting started and we believe this federal grant funding effort will inspire more companies to commit to launching their own formal teleworking programs.”

In the Gulf Coast region and around the U.S., teleworking has proven effective in two important ways: allowing commuting employees to avoid long, slow trips along major traffic corridors; and helping to improve overall mobility and air quality.

According to the Greater Houston Partnership’s recent reference publication, 2013 Houston Facts, the Gulf Coast region enjoyed 2.6 percent job growth in 2012, with nearly 500,000 new residents moving into the eight-county Houston-Galveston region. However, with this continued growth in the region comes greater congestion and major roadway construction resulting in traffic delays and frustration for daily commuters.

The Houston-Galveston region currently falls short of the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for air quality, and unfortunately lands on the list of “nonattainment” areas — meaning air pollution levels in the Gulf Coast region exceed the national air quality standards. Since on-road vehicles account for approximately 40 percent of the region’s air emissions, getting a significant number of commuters to commit to an alternative like teleworking instead of solo commuting could eventually lead to a much-needed improvement in the region’s air quality.

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