Come October, Most Feds on Official Travel Will Have More Money for Lodging

Government travel per diem rates will tick up slightly in fiscal 2017, the General Services Administration announced Friday.

The standard lodging per diem rate for will increase $2 from $89 to $91, starting on Oct. 1. Coverage of meals and incidental expenses will remain stagnant, ranging from the standard rate of $51 to the high end of $74. It's the second year in a row the standard lodging per diem rate has increased.

While the standard rates apply to about 2,600 counties in the continental United States, about 350 additional non-standard areas, or NSAs, receive individual calculations. Feds traveling in more expensive cities receive higher reimbursement rates. For example, those traveling to Washington and the surrounding metro area in fiscal 2017 will receive a lodging per diem of between $172 and $242, depending on the time of year, and a $69 per diem for meals and incidental expenses. The lodging reimbursement range currently spans from $174 to $226. San Francisco’s per diem lodging rates will be $267 in fiscal 2017 -- up from $250 -- and remain at $74 for meals and incidentals. Lodging rates for New York City and its boroughs will fluctuate between $168 and $301 per day, a slight decrease from the current range, while government travelers to that area will continue to be reimbursed for meals and incidental expenses at a per diem of $74.

The standard lodging rate will remain $91 throughout the year. The full range of per diem rates across the country can be seen here.

GSA used data from April 2015 through March 2016 in setting the rates, drawing from “mid-range” price options. It collected the information through a contract with a “leading provider of lodging industry data.”

The agency did not establish any new NSA locations, but did remove three: Lexington Park/Leonardtown/Lusby, Md.; New Bern, N.C.; Minot, N.D.

GSA announced it will form an interagency working group to consider potential new procedures for drawing boundary lines. The agency will announce more details and solicit public input in the coming weeks.

“GSA looks forward to assessing all of the approximately 350 areas where we set rates higher than the standard rate to determine if those boundary lines are drawn in the best way possible to meet agencies’ missions,” said GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth.

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