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Federal Travel Regulation; Enhancement of Privately Owned Vehicle and Rental Vehicle Policy

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American Government

Federal Travel Regulation; Enhancement of Privately Owned Vehicle and Rental Vehicle Policy

Denise Turner Roth
General Services Administration
May 13, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 92 (Wednesday, May 13, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 27259-27261]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-11459]


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GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION

41 CFR Parts 300-3, 301-10, and 301-70

[FTR Amendment 2015-03, FTR Case 2014-302; Docket 2014-0014, Sequence 
1]
RIN 3090-AJ48


Federal Travel Regulation; Enhancement of Privately Owned Vehicle 
and Rental Vehicle Policy

AGENCY: Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP), General Services 
Administration (GSA).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: GSA is amending the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) by 
requiring agencies to have an internal policy for determining whether 
to authorize a privately owned vehicle (POV), as opposed to a rental 
car, in conjunction with temporary duty travel (TDY). Further, this 
rule specifies that travelers, who have been authorized to travel via 
common carrier or rental car, and choose to use a POV instead, will be 
reimbursed at the applicable POV mileage rate. Additionally, this rule 
adds specific provisions addressing the type of rental vehicles 
travelers must use, pre-paid refueling options, and other rental car 
surcharges. Finally, this rule makes certain miscellaneous corrections, 
where applicable.

DATES: Effective Date: May 13, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For clarification of content, contact 
Mr. Cy Greenidge, Program Analyst, Office of Government-wide Policy, at 
202-219-2349. Contact the Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), 1800 F Street 
NW., Washington, DC 20405, 202-501-4755, for information pertaining to 
status or publication schedules. Please cite FTR Amendment 2015-03; FTR 
case 2014-302.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

    GSA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on October 
20, 2014 (79 FR 62588). That rule proposed amending the FTR to require 
that agencies have an internal policy for determining when to authorize 
a POV, as opposed to a rental car, in conjunction with TDY. 
Additionally, the rule proposed to amend the FTR to state that 
travelers who have been authorized by their agencies to travel via 
common carrier or rental car, and choose to use a POV instead, would be 
reimbursed at the applicable POV mileage rate up to the constructive 
cost of the authorized mode of transportation plus per diem. Further, 
the rule proposed amending the FTR to state that travelers who are 
authorized to use a rental car in conjunction with TDY must use the 
least expensive compact car available; addressed reimbursement 
pertaining to pre-paid refueling options for rental cars; denied 
reimbursement of surcharges involved when rental car companies purchase 
miles from airlines and provide those miles to their vehicle customers; 
and proposed to amend the FTR to make certain miscellaneous 
corrections, where applicable.
    The public had 60 calendar days to comment on the proposed rule. 
GSA received a total of seven comments from three commenters, and made 
changes to the substance of this final rule, although changes are not 
considered to be significant.

B. Analysis of Public Comments

    Comment: One respondent expressed concern that changing the term 
``government-furnished automobile'' to ``government-owned automobile 
(GOA)'' would generate uncertainty as to how travelers should account 
for vehicles leased by the Federal Government.
    Response: GSA agreed with these concerns and will amend the FTR to 
more consistently use the term ``government-furnished automobile.'' GSA 
is amending the current definition, however, as it pertains to use of 
the term ``GSA Fleet'' and the 120-day rental period to be consistent 
with the Federal Management Regulation.
    Comment: One respondent stated that requiring a medical 
professional to recommend a suitable vehicle class is not feasible, 
since busy or indifferent medical authorities will merely sign 
statements prepared by travelers.
    Response: We agreed that requiring a medical professional to 
recommend a suitable vehicle class is not feasible, and therefore, have 
removed this language from the final rule.
    Comment: One respondent recommended an additional exception (Sec.  
301-10.450(c)(6)) permitting the use of a non-compact car for safety 
reasons due to severe weather or terrain.
    Response: We agreed with this recommendation and have added this 
language to the final rule.
    Comment: One respondent stated that requiring an annual written 
statement from a medical authority (Sec.  301-10.450(c)(1)(i)) is 
unduly complex and contrary to existing law and regulation.
    Response: Since the requirement for an annual written statement 
from a medical authority is stipulated in Sec.  301-10.123(a)(2) when 
requesting the use of other than coach class accommodations, we believe 
this same requirement should apply when requesting the use of other 
than a compact car. Proposed language will not change.
    Comment: One respondent stated that changing travel policy to not 
reimburse fees associated with rental car loyalty points will increase 
the chance of improper payments for such small dollar amounts and will 
slow down the voucher review process. The respondent recommended 
changing rental car agreements to prohibit charging such

[[Page 27260]]

fees or offering them to Federal travelers. The respondent also 
recommended changing the ETS2 contract to not allow adding frequent 
flyer mileage numbers for car rentals.
    Response: Travelers may not be reimbursed for rental car fees 
associated with rental car loyalty points because these are not 
official expenses. 5 U.S.C. 5706 permits reimbursement of actual and 
necessary travel expenses only. Changing the rental car agreements and 
the ETS2 contract are not within the scope of the Office of Government-
wide Policy, thus proposed language will not change.
    Comment: One respondent stated that the requirement to consider the 
total cost of travel using a rental car versus personal vehicle does 
not include the cost of official time spent obtaining a rental vehicle, 
which the commenter stated was comparatively large. The commenter 
argued that time spent in making detailed comparisons will eliminate 
any potential cost savings.
    Response: A POV should be authorized only after the agency 
considers a common carrier, a Government-furnished automobile, and a 
rental car, and the employee agrees to use a POV. The final rule has 
been changed to make this order of preference clearer. The comparison 
should include all costs associated with the trip.
    Comment: One commenter recommended adding the language, ``if the 
estimated cost for the use of a privately owned vehicle is $100 or 
less, no documentation of the cost savings should be required''. The 
commenter stated that this is because the direct costs (rental fees and 
local rental taxes, travel cost for driving to and parking at the 
rental car site), plus the indirect costs (time to book the rental 
vehicle, travel to and from the rental site, etc.) would likely always 
exceed $100.
    Response: From a Government-wide perspective, because each agency 
has unique missions and fiscal considerations, it would not be prudent 
to artificially set a threshold or arbitrary number for cost comparison 
between different modes of transportation. If an agency can determine a 
break-even point through historical or empirical data, they may 
establish a threshold in their internal policy and procedures 
documentation. This way, the cost of comparison is not repeated for all 
trips when the cost is at or below that determined threshold. Proposed 
language will not change.

C. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess 
all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives, and if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 
13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, 
of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. 
This final rule is not a significant regulatory action, and therefore, 
was not subject to review under Section 6(b) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory 
Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993.

D. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final rule would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq. This final rule is 
also exempt from the Administrative Procedure Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
553(a)(2) because it applies to agency management or personnel.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because these changes to 
the FTR do not impose recordkeeping or information collection 
requirements, or the collection of information from offerors, 
contractors, or members of the public that require the approval of the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

F. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This final rule is also exempt from Congressional review prescribed 
under 5 U.S.C. 801. This final rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 
804.

List of Subjects in 41 CFR Parts 300-3, 301-10, and 301-70

    Administrative practices and procedures, Government employees, 
Travel and transportation expenses.

    Dated: May 4, 2015.
Denise Turner Roth,
Acting Administrator of General Services.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
5701-5711, GSA amends 41 CFR parts 300-3, 301-10 and 301-70 as set 
forth below:

PART 300-3--GLOSSARY OF TERMS

0
1. The authority citation for 41 CFR part 300-3 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707; 40 U.S.C. 121(c); 49 U.S.C. 40118; 5 
U.S.C. 5738; 5 U.S.C. 5741-5742; 20 U.S.C. 905(a); 31 U.S.C. 1353; 
E.O 11609, as amended, 3 CFR, 1971-1975 Comp. p. 586, Office of 
Management and Budget Circular No. A-126, revised May 22, 1992.


Sec.  300-3.1  [AMENDED]

0
2. Amend Sec.  300-3.1, in the definition of ``Government-furnished 
automobile'', by--
0
a. Removing from paragraph (b) the phrase ``the GSA Interagency Fleet 
Management System'' and adding the phrase ``GSA Fleet'' in its place.
0
b. Removing from paragraph (c) the phrase ``60 days'' and adding the 
phrase ``120 days'' in its place.

PART 301-10--TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES

0
3. The authority citation for 41 CFR part 301-10 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 5707; 40 U.S.C. 121(c); 49 U.S.C. 40118; 
OMB Circular No. A-126, revised May 22, 1992.

0
4. Amend Sec.  301-10.5 by revising the section heading and adding 
paragraphs (c) and (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  301-10.5  What are the presumptions as to the most advantageous 
method of transportation by order of precedence?

* * * * *
    (c) Rental car. If no Government-furnished automobile is available, 
but your agency has determined that travel must be performed by 
automobile, then a rental car should be authorized.
    (d) Privately Owned Vehicle (POV). POVs should be determined to be 
the most advantageous method of transportation only after your agency 
evaluates the use of a common carrier, a Government-furnished 
automobile, and a rental car.

0
5. Revise the undesignated center heading preceding Sec.  301.10-220 to 
read as follows:

Government-Furnished Automobiles

* * * * *

0
6. Revise Sec.  301-10.309 to read as follows:


Sec.  301-10.309  What will I be reimbursed if I am authorized to use 
common carrier transportation or a rental vehicle and I use a POV 
instead?

    You will be reimbursed the applicable POV rate on a mileage basis, 
plus per diem, not to exceed the total constructive cost of the 
authorized method of common carrier transportation plus per diem. Your 
agency must determine the constructive cost of transportation and per 
diem by common carrier under the rules in Sec.  301-10.310.

0
7. Revise Sec.  301-10.310 to read as follows:

[[Page 27261]]

Sec.  301-10.310  What will I be reimbursed if I am authorized to use a 
Government-furnished automobile and I use a privately owned automobile 
instead?

    You will be reimbursed based on a constructive mileage rate limited 
to the cost that would be incurred for use of a Government automobile. 
This rate will be published in an FTR bulletin available at http://www.gsa.gov/ftr. If your agency determines the cost of providing a 
Government-furnished automobile would be higher because of unusual 
circumstances, it may allow reimbursement not to exceed the mileage 
rate for a privately owned automobile. In addition, you may be 
reimbursed other allowable expenses as provided in Sec.  301-10.304.

0
8. Amend Sec.  301-10.450 by revising the section heading and adding 
paragraphs (c) through (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  301-10.450  What are the policies when authorized to rent a 
vehicle for official travel?

* * * * *
    (c) Travelers must use the least expensive compact car available, 
unless an exception for another class of vehicle is approved. Agencies 
should approve these exceptions on a limited basis and must indicate on 
the travel authorization the reason for the exception. Your agency may 
authorize the use of other than a compact car if any of the following 
apply:
    (1) When use of other than a compact car is necessary to 
accommodate a medical disability or other special need.
    (i) A disability must be certified annually in a written statement 
by a competent medical authority. However, if the disability is a 
lifelong condition, then a one-time certification statement is 
required. Certification statements must include at a minimum:
    (A) A written statement by a competent medical authority stating 
that special accommodation is necessary;
    (B) An approximate duration of the special accommodation; and
    (ii) A special need must be certified annually in writing according 
to your agency's procedures. However, if the special need is a lifelong 
condition, then a one-time certification statement is required;
    (iii) If you are authorized under Sec.  301-13.3(a) to have an 
attendant accompany you, your agency may authorize the use of other 
than a compact car if deemed necessary by your agency.
    (2) When required because of agency mission, consistent with your 
agency's internal procedures pursuant to Sec.  301-70.102(i).
    (3) When the cost of other than a compact car is less than or equal 
to the cost of the least expensive compact car.
    (4) When additional room is required to accommodate multiple 
employees authorized to travel together in the same rental vehicle.
    (5) When travelers must carry a large amount of Government material 
incident to their official business, and a compact rental vehicle does 
not contain sufficient space.
    (6) When necessary for safety reasons, such as during severe 
weather or having to travel on rough or difficult terrain.
    (d) Travelers are not to be reimbursed for purchasing pre-paid 
refueling options for rental cars. Therefore, travelers should refuel 
prior to returning the rental vehicle to the drop-off location. 
However, if it is not possible to refuel completely prior to returning 
the vehicle because of safety issues or the location of closest fueling 
station, travelers will be reimbursed for vendor refueling charges.
    (e) Travelers will not be reimbursed for fees associated with 
rental car loyalty points or the transfer of points charged by car 
companies.

PART 301-70--INTERNAL POLICY AND PROCEDURE REQUIREMENTS

0
9. The authority citation for 41 CFR part 301-70 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707; 40 U.S.C. 121(c); Sec. 2, Pub. L. 105-
264, 112 Stat. 2350 (5 U.S.C. 5701, note), OMB Circular No. A-126, 
revised May 22, 1992, and OMB Circular No. A-123, Appendix B, 
revised January 15, 2009.

0
10. Amend Sec.  301-70.101 by adding paragraphs (c) through (e) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  301-70.101  What factors must we consider in determining which 
method of transportation results in the greatest advantage to the 
Government?

* * * * *
    (c) When travel must be performed by automobile, agencies should 
next consider using a Government-furnished automobile.
    (d) If a Government-furnished automobile is not available, agencies 
should then consider using the least expensive compact rental vehicle.
    (e) Agencies should lastly consider authorizing a POV only if the 
employee agrees to use a POV, because agencies cannot mandate employees 
to use their POV for official reasons.

0
11. Amend Sec.  301-70.102 by revising paragraphs (d), (f), and (i) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  301-70.102  What governing policies must we establish for 
authorization and payment of transportation expenses?

* * * * *
    (d) When you will consider use of a POV advantageous to the 
Government, such as travel to and from common carrier terminals or to 
the TDY location. When determining whether the use of a POV to a TDY 
location is the most advantageous method of transportation, agencies 
must consider the total cost of using a POV as compared to the total 
cost of using a rental vehicle, including rental costs, fuel, taxes, 
parking (at a common carrier terminal, etc.), and any other associated 
costs;
* * * * *
    (f) Procedures for allowing the use of a special conveyance (e.g., 
commercially rented vehicles), taking into account the requirements of 
Sec.  301-10.450;
* * * * *
    (i) Develop and issue internal guidance on what specific mission 
criteria justify approval of the use of other than coach-class 
transportation under Sec. Sec.  301-10.123(a)(4), 301-10.123(b)(9), and 
301-10.162(e), as well as on the use of other than lowest first-class 
under Sec.  301-10.183(d) and the use of other than a compact rental 
car under Sec.  301-10.450(c). The justification criteria shall be 
entered in the remarks section of the traveler's authorization.
* * * * *


Sec. Sec.  301-10.5, 301-10.200, 301-10.220, 301-10.310 and 301-
70.104  [Amended]

0
12. Amend Sec. Sec.  301-10.5, 301-10.200, 301-10.220, 301-10.310 and 
301-70.104 by removing the words ``Government automobile'' wherever 
they appear and adding ``Government-furnished automobile'' in their 
places.

[FR Doc. 2015-11459 Filed 5-12-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6820-14-P

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