WASHINGTON — Transportation leaders are warning tonight that the Trump administration's crackdown on telework could make the Washington region's horrible traffic even worse.
Federal agencies are calling thousands of federal workers back to their desks.
Meaning, many of them could end up on already crowded roads and rails.
More than 1 million telecommuters, with nearly half of them being federal workers, skipped the traffic to work from home some or all of the time last year, according to a survey by the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments.
But at the Department of Agriculture and many other government agencies, the Trump administration is starting to cracking down on teleworking.
"Colleagues of those who telework say, 'We're glad our colleagues are going to be back in the office and we can work with them better than when they were teleworking,'" Stephen Censky, Deputy Secretary Department of Agriculture, said in an interview with WUSA9.
The AAA Mid-Atlantic warned that cutting off telework for thousands of federal workers will choke our roads and rails with even more traffic, especially on Mondays and Fridays, when we had been getting some relief.
"This is short-sightedness, and it hurts the whole region," John Townsend, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic said.
The feds had been out in front of a national trend, with many companies finding telework has made employees happier and more productive.
"They get more time out of me because of my lunch. I work straight through it sometimes," Kalin Brody, a government contract worker said.
"I think most people will tell you they work longer on their telework days than they do when they're here for their 8 hour, lets say it's and eight hour shift," Erik Claudio said.
Claudio is a FEMA worker who commutes in from Calvert County in Southern Maryland, but he works from home on Tuesday afternoons and on Fridays. "Anything you can do to reduce people on the road is good in my book," Claudio said.
Fewer people on the road is a big bonus for a lot of us.
Trump officials have argued a boss' sharp eyes keeps some employees from slacking off.
But federal union leaders say all the evidence they've seen points the other way -- that when people who work from home, they're more productive.