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GSA Announces New Per Diem Rates for Federal Travelers

GSA #9362

November 21, 1996
Contact: Steve Guiheen
(202) 501-1231

Acting Administrator David J. Barram of 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, scheduled to appear in today's Federal Register, take effect Jan. 1, 1997.

Barram said 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.

Barram said GSA periodically reviews the travel per diem rates based on independent surveys of lodging and meal costs. Where survey results warrant, rates are adjusted so federal workers may obtain lodging in moderate, business-class accommodations.

"For the first time in eight years," Barram said, "the standard rate has been increased -- from $66 to $80 -- for all locations not specifically listed as higher-cost areas by the Federal Travel Regulations."

The new standard rate allows a maximum of $50 for lodging and $30 for meals and incidental expenses.

Individual rates have been set for 497 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 1997, GSA unrestricted air fares, on average, are 62 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 Department.

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.

Examples of New Rates for Some Frequently-Visited Cities
New Rates Current Rates

City Lodging Meals Total Lodging Meals Total

Atlanta $ 96 $ 38 $ 134 $ 85 $ 34 $ 119
Chicago 119 42 161 119 38 157
Dallas 84 42 126 84 38 122
Denver 92 34 126 92 34 126
Los Angeles 97 42 139 97 38 135
New York 153 42 195 142 38 180
San Diego 84 38 122 122 34 115
Washington, DC 124 42 166 124 38 162

Last Reviewed 2010-04-30