The Darkside of Your Daily Commute

Any way you slice it, traffic, and especially rush hour traffic, is a Freaking Nightmare in Chicago, Washington, Houston and Los Angeles. If you live, work and attempt to commute by car in any of those areas you would agree.

However if you work in New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Francisco, Atlanta and Denver you might beg to differ. Traffic in those cities bites as well.

And while folks in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport have George Clooney, which is a plus, they also must run the gauntlet of I-75 from the bridge to the I-71 interchange. Watch ’em weep!

In addition to having the worst traffic in the nation, all of the above cities share another trait:

Along with Seattle, which has I-5 at I-90 interchanges issues, those cities contain the largest concentration of federal workers in the nation. And Uncle Sam is committed to getting people, especially his people, off the road via increased teleworking and the use of transit subsidies which can be as high as $120 per month. In that respect some agencies are doing better than others.

Feds in Chicago frighten naughty children by threatening to leave them near (or on) the Dan Ryan expressway. In DC, commuters have nightmares about the 1-270 interchange at 495 (our fabled Beltway). In LA, people who regularly use the US-101 Ventura Freeway, are regularly treated for stress. In Houston it is I-610, or just about anyplace else. You get the idea.

Traffic is bad and, thanks to the improving economy (meaning more people have jobs to go to) it is getting worse, according the researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A & M.

Just how bad is the daily commute in your fair city?

While Uncle Sam is one of the best employers when it comes to helping people get to work, all agencies are not created equal. Some give employees a bigger monthly transit subsidy than others. In fact, some have in-house split personalities.

At the giant Social Security Administration, workers in the Washington-Baltimore area get the full monty. A maximum $230 per month payment. But according to the American Federation of Government Employees union, SSA’ers in other cities get half a loaf. In fact that is one of the issues in the year long contract talks between the giant agency and AFGE’s SSA Council 220 president Witold Skierczynski.

He told us about it on this week’s Your Turn with Mike Causey radio show.

Also on the show Federal Times experts Sean Reilly, Steve Watkins and Andrew Tilghman talked about downsizing at the U.S. Postal Service, relations between federal unions and the Obama administration and changes in Defense’s giant Tricare health plan. The show is archived and you can listen anytime by clicking here.

Meantime, back to traffic. Is your agency is doing all it could to encourage you to telework and/or take public transportation? Should it be doing more and what would that be? Let us know – and we’ll let your bosses know!!!

To reach me:

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