As If It Were a State Holiday Every Day

Screen shot 2015-03-17 at 11.01.37 AMRep. Celia Israel (HD 50 – Austin) recently filed HB 1839, a bill that would make it easier for state employees to work alternative hours, something that could have a big impact on downtown Austin traffic.

If passed, the bill would provide an exception to the law requiring all state offices to remain open from 8am to 5pm five days a week, and would allow agencies the ability to implement flexible work hours. These changes would enable state employees to avoid peak travel times, reducing their impact on downtown traffic. Fewer state employees on the road would mean more congestion-free days for all Texas drivers.

“We all notice how much nicer getting around town is on state holidays,” Israel was quoted as saying in the Austin American-Statesman. “I want to create more of those nice days.” Texas A&M Transportation Institute found on state holidays, rush hour traffic on southbound IH 35 went down as much as 38 percent.

Individuals commuting to and from work account for most cars on Austin-area roads during rush hours, and state employees drive a whopping 19 percent of the cars traveling to work downtown on a typical weekday.

If you drive, you should like this bill. If you are a state employee this bill could allow you options for avoiding the headaches of traffic. Contact House Author Representative Israel or Senate Sponsor Senator Watson to register your support for their bill.

Between 2005 and 2012, telecommuting in the United States increased by nearly 80 percent. The numbers in Texas could increase significantly if state employees are added to the mix.

image via Creative Commons

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