This story has been updated.
Government travel per diem rates will increase in fiscal 2016, according to the General Services Administration.
The standard lodging per diem rate for fiscal 2016 will rise $6 from $83 to $89, starting on Oct. 1, 2015. The meals and incidental expense ranges also are increasing from $46-$71 to $54-$74 per day.
This is the first increase in the standard lodging per diem rate since fiscal 2014.
While the standard rates apply to about 2,600 counties in the continental United States, 400 additional “non-standard areas” -- or NSAs -- receive individual calculations. Feds traveling in more expensive cities receive higher rates of reimbursements. For example, feds heading to Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area in fiscal 2016 will receive a lodging per diem of between $174 and $226, depending on the time of year, and a $69 per diem for meals and incidental expenses. San Francisco’s per diem rates are $250 for lodging in fiscal 2016 and $74 for meals and incidentals, while lodging rates for New York City and its boroughs will fluctuate between $181 and $306 per day. Government travelers to that area will have an M&IE per diem of $74.
Beginning in fiscal 2016, two more locations will move into the NSA category: Grand Lake, Colo. (Grand County), and Pecos, Texas (Reeves County). GSA also renamed the Belle Mead, N.J., area Somerset, “which more accurately recognizes the major city in the county,” the notice said.
GSA is shifting 15 locations that were NSA in fiscal 2015 to the standard or CONUS (Continental United States) category for fiscal 2016. They are: Huntsville, Ala.; Modesto, Calif.; Driggs/Idaho Falls, Idaho; Springfield, Ill.; Covington/Slidell, La.; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Los Alamos, N.M.; Stateline/Carson City, Nev.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Greenville, Texas; Fredericksburg, Va.; Norfolk/Portsmouth, Va.; Prince William/Manassas, Va.; Anacortes/Coupeville, Wash.; and Shepherdstown, W. Va.
Based on recommendations from the Governmentwide Travel Advisory Committee, GSA now will review the standard CONUS travel per diem rate annually rather than every three years. The agency also reviewed the meals and incidental expense methodology, the first in-depth review since the 1980s. “GSA developed a new methodology and conducted a pilot, and determined that a change would continue to provide a fair reimbursement to employees as well as save future taxpayer dollars as compared to using the previous methodology,” said Christine Harada, GSA associate administrator of governmentwide policy, in an Aug. 14 blog post on the changes.
GSA establishes per diem rates for lodging, meals and incidental expenses in the continental United States. A standard per diem is applied in locations less commonly traveled by federal workers, while nonstandard areas frequently visited are granted individual rates based on the average daily industry rate.
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