I propose that the government green operations and adopt new technology by launching a "Tech for Travel" program that would enable agencies to plan a reduction in air travel and re-purpose those funds to support investments in video conferencing equipment. Presently, agencies are pressured to spend all of their appropriated funds at the risk of a budget cut the next fiscal year (or more bluntly "if you don't use it, you lose it"). As a result, much of these 'soft' or flexible monies that can be spent near the end of a fiscal year are used for unnecessary or excessive travel. If offices/programs could efficiently and effectively account for investments in videconferencing technology as travel instead of capital, offices would readily invest in making their workplace video conferencing friendly without running the risk of repurposing precious capital funds or not using their full budget. This near-term investment would have far-reaching payoffs in the form of reduced need for intra-office travel, reduced carbon emissions, greening the federal government, and providing a more productive work environment for employees. Federal agencies will communicate more effectively with our stakeholders and partners by using the same accessible communications tools and technologies in homes, schools, Congressional offices and businesses, mirroring the great strides the Administration has taken in adopting social media strategies.
Idea No. 11890