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GSA boosts per diem rates in major metro areas

GSA boosts per diem rates in major metro areas

The General Services Administration is raising the travel per diem rates for lodging in some expensive metropolitan areas as of April 1, according to a notice in Tuesday’s Federal Register.

Federal employees on business travel to New York City and San Francisco will see per diem rates for lodging increase between April and September, based on previous estimates for fiscal 2011. The per diem rate for meals and incidental expenses — currently $71 for both areas — will remain the same. The rate change affects all five New York City boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

Beginning next month, travelers to New York can spend $212 per day on lodging, an increase from the current rate of $192. That rate increases to $224 in June, and $295 per day in September. San Francisco can spend $150 per day on lodging beginning next month; in September, that rates increases to $180. Currently, the per diem rate for San Francisco County is $142.

GSA, which sets the federal per diem rates, assigns a reimbursement rate higher than the standard to frequently traveled regions considered more expensive. The standard lodging rate, which covers hotels in 2,600 counties nationwide, increased from $70 to $77 in fiscal 2011.

After its fiscal 2011 midyear review, the government also decided to boost lodging rates as of April 1 for the following areas: San Bernardino County in California, which includes the cities of Barstow, Ontario and Victorville; Layette County in Mississippi, where Oxford is located; Harrisburg and Hershey in Pennsylvania’s Dauphin County; Greenville in Texas’s Hunt County, and Bowling Green in Virginia’s Caroline County. The per diem figures for Harrisburg and Hershey increase from $106 to $134 from April through August, but dip back to $107 in September.

Meals and incidental expenses will remain at the current rates, except those for Oxford and Bowling Green, which will see slight increases.

When GSA published per diem rates in August 2010, overall, rates for lodging during the past year decreased in 310 of the 378 nonstandard, mostly metropolitan areas across the country, because of the economic recession. At that time, the reduced rates for nonstandard areas reflected a 5.73 percent drop in the cost of lodging from fiscal 2010, while the fiscal 2011 per diem rates reflected an overall decrease of 3.85 percent when compared with fiscal 2010 rates.

Clarification: The figures GSA released earlier for April through September represent a slight rate boost. For example, GSA’s earlier per diem rate for New York City in September was $269; after the mid-year review it is $295. The original per diem rate for San Francisco in September, for example, was $174; now it is $180.

John Clancey Don Rhea

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March 30, 2011 Posted by | 8(a), genreal service administration, sba, SDB, SDVOSB | , , , , | Leave a comment