Traveling feds get slight boost from GSA in per diem rates

Federal employees traveling for work are getting an extra $2 to spend on a place to stay.

The General Services Administration released fiscal 2017 per diem rates. Feds will get an average of $142 — $91 for lodging and $51 for meals and incidental expenses. The rates take effect Oct. 1.

The per diem rates apply to the 48 Continental United States (CONUS). There are no new non-standard locations, however, three areas that were NSAs in fiscal 2016 will move to the contiguous state category:

  • Lexington Park/Leonardtown/Lusby, Maryland
  • New Bern, North Carolina
  • Minot, North Dakota

The rates are based on Average Daily Rate (ADR) data from the lodging industry, according to GSA. Fiscal 2017 meals and incidental expenses stayed at the fiscal 2016 standard range of $51 to $74. Feds traveling in fiscal 2016 were given $89 for lodging and $51 for M&IE.

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“The ADR is a widely accepted lodging-industry measure based upon a property’s room rental revenue divided by the number of rooms rented as reported by the hotel property to the contractor,” according to information provided by GSA. “This calculation provides GSA with the average rate in a given area.”

The State Department handles foreign rates, while the Defense Department sets rates for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam.

GSA is also creating an interagency working group for fiscal 2018 to look at per diem rates and boundary lines for about 350 areas, to “determine if those boundary lines are drawn in the best way possible to meet agencies’ mission,” GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth said in a statement.

“In most cases across the United States, but not all, a per diem rate applies to an entire county,” according to a GSA news release. “In some cases, such as a metro area, it can apply to more than one county. In some locations, where individual cities are entirely separate entities from the counties that surround them, a rate can apply to the city only.”

Up in the air

GSA awarded eight contracts to American airlines through the City Pair Program for fiscal 2017 worth a total of $1.99 billion compared to $1.74 billion in 2016.

The average plane ticket stayed the same between fiscal 2016 and 2017, at $225. Average international fairs rose $23 to $747.

The savings for fiscal 2017 is projected to be $2.4 billion, up from $2.3 billion last year.