Local pols ask OPM to loosen teleworking rules as Metro shutdown approaches

Covering the Corridor

It’s less than a week until all six Metro stations south of Reagan National Airport close for the summer, and Rep. Don Beyer and other local members of Congress want OPM to clarify teleworking rules for federal workers.

So far OPM has not issued a guidance on telework during the shutdown, which begins Saturday and runs until September 8. Shuttle buses will be replacing trains at all Blue Line and Yellow Line stations south of the airport, and it’s widely expected that congestion on local roads will increase 

Beyer (D-8), along with Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11) and Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-10), sent a letter to acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert on Monday expressing concern that her department had not yet addressed teleworking rules for the duration of the shutdown. The letter asks OPM to let federal agencies expand their telework policies during the station closures, similar to measures taken during the SafeTrack project shutdowns.

“The station closures will begin in just five days, but OPM has not yet issued guidance on expanded telework options for federal employees,” the letter said. “In keeping with past agency practice ahead of major Metro construction projects, we urge you to expand telework options for federal employees for the entirety of the Platform Improvement Project.”

WMATA is closing the Huntington, Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn Street, Eisenhower Avenue, King Street, and Braddock Road stations beginning Saturday as part of a project to repair aging outdoor platforms throughout the transit system. The three-year project will ultimately rebuild 20 platforms.

Construction at the six stations south of Reagan National Airport will happen concurrently, and is expected to continue even past the date that those stations reopen, according to WMATA. The repair work at Huntington and Franconia-Springfield could last until early December, the agency said.

Aside from the platform repairs, other work will be done at the stations during the shutdown, including the replacement of all tiles.

Information about the shuttle buses and other alternatives can be found on WMATA’s websiteand on Fairfax County’s website.