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GSA Announces 1998 Per Diem Rates for Federal Travelers;
New Rates More Accurate, Fair and Protect Taxpayer Interests

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 -  The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) today announced updated per diem rates for federal employees on official travel in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. The rates, which are published in the Federal Register, take effect January 1, 1998.

The federal per diem rates are based on a lodgings-plus system, whereby employees are reimbursed for the actual
cost of lodging up to a set limit. In addition, they receive a fixed amount for meals and incidental expenses. The
lodging limit plus the meal and incidental expenses rate for a given destination equal the maximum per diem rate
employees can be paid for official travel.

This year, GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, which is in charge of setting the rates, has made the process
more efficient and accurate, resulting in per diem rates that more closely reflect current market conditions. The
office used information from the American Express (AmEx) Government Travel Card and partnered with private
sector experts to improve its market research and data analysis.

For instance, the agency made extensive use of 1996 AmEx travel data to better pinpoint where travelers stay and
to more accurately determine travel nights. In the larger travel areas, the AmEx data allowed GSA to narrow market  research to specific zip codes in locations surveyed.

Using more accurate researching techniques, the 1998 per diem rates have increased as much as $45 in some areas  and decreased as much as $30 in others. The 1998 per diem rates compensate travelers fairly and protect the  interest of the taxpayers.

The standard rate remains unchanged at a maximum of $ 50 for lodging and $ 30 for meals and incidental

Individual rates have been set for 447 higher-cost U.S. cities. Lodging in these locations is paid by the
government up to a set limit; reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses is $ 30, $ 34, $ 38 or $ 42,
depending on the location.

In addition to setting domestic per diem rates, GSA also negotiates discount rates with U.S. air carriers and with
hotels and motels nationwide. For fiscal year 1998, GSA unrestricted air fares, on average, are 70 percent less than commercial rates.

GSA's per diem rates also apply to employees of certain government vendors when traveling in connection with
federal contracts.

Travel per diem rates for locations outside the continental United States - Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. territories
and possessions - are set by the Department of Defense. Rates for international travel are set by the State

The complete list of GSA's new rates is on the World Wide Web at The
rates also are available from Federal Information Centers at 1-800-688-9889, or, for the hearing impaired
(TDD/TTY users), at 1-800-326-2996. The per diem rates will also be available on a disc upon request.

Examples of New Rates for Some Frequently-Visited Cities:

New Rates vs Current (Old)  Rates
New Rates
Current (Old) Rates
Lodging Meals Total Lodging Meals Total
Atlanta 97 38 135 96 38 134
Chicago 120 42 162 119 42 161
Dallas 94 42 136 84 42 126
Denver 92 34 126 92 34 126
Los Angeles 109 42 151 97 42 139
New York 198 42 240 153 42 195
San Diego 93 38 131 84 38 122
Washington DC 126 42 168 124 42 166
Bill Bearden, 202-501-1231, or
Bill Rivers, 202-208-7631,
both of the U.S. General Services Administration


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