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GSA Announces 2001 Per Diem Rates for Federal Travelers Rates Switch to Fiscal Year Schedule and Begin October 1, 2000 for Travel

GSA # 9725

September 1, 2000
Contact: Bill Bearden (202) 501-1231
bill.bearden@gsa.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) today announced changes in per diem rates for federal employees on official travel in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. GSA also announced that beginning this year, the per diem rate changes switch to a fiscal year schedule to take effect October 1, 2000. The rates were published today in the Federal Register and posted on the GSA website at http://www.policyworks.gov/perdiem.

"Customers are at the heart of the General Services Administration and we are committed to establishing policies that make it easier for the government to run more efficiently," said GSA Administrator David J. Barram. "The switch to fiscal year versus the traditional calendar year schedule for the per diem rate-setting process was done with our customers in mind -- since it coincides with the budget planning process -- and makes it easier for agencies to plan and budget their travel resources."

GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, which is in charge of setting the per diem rates for the continental United States, announced the following information regarding per diem rates for the fiscal year 2001:

30% of the per diem rates increased over calendar year 2000; 43% stayed the same; and 27% decreased.

Individual rates have been set for 424 higher-cost U.S. cities. Lodging in these locations is paid by the government up to a set limit and reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses range from a low of $30 to a high of $46.

State and local taxes continue to be treated separately -- not as part of the room rate.

The effective date of the per diem rates is being moved to the federal fiscal year in lieu of the calendar year. The federal fiscal year runs from October 1 - September 30.

The Federal Travel Regulation was revised in January 2000 to include separate treatment of conferences. The new policy allows conference planners to negotiate up to 25% more than the going lodging rate limit and allows the government to pay for light refreshments during conference breaks.

The Office of Governmentwide Policy posts a listing of hotels that were surveyed and are at or below the lodging rate in their geographical area; additional properties can be added to the list if they offer federal travelers a room at or below the lodging rate for that geographical area. (Check http://policyworks.gov/perdiem)

The federal per diem rates are based on a lodgings-plus system, whereby employees are reimbursed for the actual cost of lodging up to a set limit. In addition, they receive a fixed amount for meals and incidental expenses. GSA's per diem rates also apply to employees of certain government contractors when traveling in connection with federal contracts. Travel per diem rates for locations outside the continental United States -- Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories and possessions -- are set by the Department of Defense. Rates for international travel are set by the State Department.

Premier Lodging Program (PLP)

In January, GSA introduced its Premier Lodging Program (PLP) which allows the GSA to contract with hotels for guaranteed rooms at guaranteed rates at or below the established per diem rates. PLP was first introduced in Boston, MA to 8 hotel properties and has quickly become one of GSA's most popular programs. GSA is currently working with the New York Federal Executive Board and the hotel industry to have contracts awarded by this fall for lodgings in the New York City area. Several other top travel locations are also targeted to be under contract by the end of 2000 -- with all of the top 75 markets by the end of calendar year 2001.

According to Martin Wagner, Associate Administrator of GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, "This is an aggressive schedule that GSA has set for itself, but one we are striving to accomplish." PLP makes good fiscal sense and will make it easier for federal travelers to find reasonably priced rooms in high travel locations.

For more information regarding GSA travel programs, contact: Bill Rivers at (202) 208-7631.


PLANNING NOTE FOR EDITORS

National Travel Conference 2000: The Ticket for the New Millennium

The conference is scheduled for October 30 - November 1, 2000 in Orlando, FL at the Rosen Centre and Orange County Convention Center. It is co-sponsored by the General Services Administration (GSA), the Interagency Travel Management Committee and Government Executive Magazine. Over 1,100 participants are expected to attend this first national travel event. GSA is waging an aggressive effort to reinvent and transform federal travel policy. This conference is just one example of GSA's collaborative approach to providing customer service and meeting face-to-face with the many customers, partners and stakeholders who work with GSA to change how the government does business.

"A Tale of 4,500+ Cities," "Regulations, Who Said So," "It's an (I) rating Experience!" -- are just a few of the workshops that will be presented during the conference and 400 vendor exhibitions will be on display. Conference speakers include Timothy B. Clark, Editor and President Government Executive Magazine, Major General Kenneth L. Privratsky, Commander, Military Traffic Management Command, Department of the Army, Dr. Robert Kriegel, best selling author of, "Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers," and Mike Causey, Senior Editor and Columnist, PlanetGov.com. During the conference, winners of the prestigious Government Executive's Travel Managers of the Year Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony (by invitation only).

For more information and to register on-line visit: www.nationaltravel2000.com, or call Jane Groat at 202-501-4318 or Peggy DeProspero at 202-501-2826.

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