GSA looks for travel savings

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The General Services Administration will try to further reduce travel costs in fiscal 2013 through the creation of a new travel advisory committee after already having frozen per diem travel reimbursements.

In a Dec. 27 announcement, GSA says it plans to develop the Government-wide Travel Advisory Committee that will present the GSA with regular advice on ways to improve travel efficiency and effectiveness, reduce costs, develop a list of useable best practices and promote sustainability efforts.

The agency said it is developing the committee because "there exists no other source within the federal government that could serve this function." It will be made up of representatives from the travel industry, corporations, agencies and state and local government officials.

This follows an earlier announcement that it would freeze fiscal 2013 travel reimbursements rates at $123 in standard areas, the fiscal 2012 level. GSA estimates that freezing the rate will save it $20 million in avoided costs.

Colorado-based Watson CPA Group says this is the first year in over a decade that rates have not been increased and that GSA was originally considering a 30 percent reduction below the 2012 rate.

"By keeping per diem rates at current levels, we are supporting federal agencies in controlling costs" and adhering to an Office of Management and Budget memorandum to reduce fiscal 2013 travel spending by 30 percent compared to fiscal 2010, said GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini.

The agency found itself in the center of an $822,000 conference spending scandal in April 2012 that forced the resignation of then-head Martha Johnson.

For more:
read committee announcement
see GSA's statement on the reimbursement rate freeze

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