An American Airlines jet taxis on the runway at Laguardia Airport. Federal travel per diems for fiscal 2014 are up 1.9 percent after being frozen last year, the General Services Administration announced in a blog post Friday. (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)
Federal travel per diems for fiscal 2014 are up 1.9 percent after being frozen last year, the General Services Administration announced in a blog post Friday.
The per diems will be on average 5 percent below the average daily market rate, which is based on local market costs and other factors. Some areas will see increases in their per diem rates while others have fallen, according to GSA.
The per diem rate for the popular Washington, D.C., area will fall in fiscal 2014. For example, the lodging rate for the month of September will drop from $226 a night to $219 a night.
GSA will also be doing away with a policy that allowed federal employees to spend 25 percent above per diem rates for conferences, which will save agencies an estimated $10 million in fiscal 2014, according to the agency.
Anne Rung, associate administrator of governmentwide policy at GSA, said in a blog post the agency is part of an ongoing effort to reduce travel costs while ensuring agencies can still perform critical missions.
“We have implemented strict policies and controls to ensure that all travel and conference expenditures are cost-effective and advancing the goals of federal agencies,” Rung said.
She said last year GSA reduced its travel spending by $28 million compared to fiscal 2010 levels and that agencies across the government have saved $2 billion on travel since 2010.
Federal travel card spending is also down 17 percent so far in fiscal 2013 compared with the same period last year.
The cut — from $7.3 billion to about $6 billion — in spending through the General Services Administration’s SmartPay charge card program follows a 6 percent decline in 2012. That year, travel spending fell from $9.6 billion in fiscal 2011 to less than $9 billion, according to the SmartPay program.
Rung said GSA is working with agencies to provide tools to help reduce travel spending, such as the recently announced fiscal 2014 City Pair Program, which offers discounted airfare for federal travels that will save agencies an estimated $2.2 billion.
“As each agency reviews its travel and conference-related activities, each agency must ensure that any spending serves the American people as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Rung said.
The new per diem rates for fiscal 2014 will take effect Oct. 1.