A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.
January 31, 2011
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: Current Mileage and Travel Reimbursement Rates, Applicable to State and Federal Grants from the Texas Education Agency
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has changed automobile mileage reimbursement rates. Effective January 1, 2011, the reimbursement rate is 51 cents a mile. (From January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2010, the mileage reimbursement rate was 50 cents a mile.) Rates for travel reimbursement (lodging and meals) have remained the same.
For ease of reference, this letter describes how to find reimbursement rates on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website. The mileage, lodging, and meal reimbursement rates published by the comptroller apply to all grants funded by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for individuals on travel status.
For more detailed information regarding allowable travel expenses, consult the Texas State Comptroller’s website, at http://window.state.tx.us. Follow these steps to locate information on the comptroller’s site regarding specific aspects of travel reimbursement:
No change has been made to the following guidelines, restated here for ease of reference:
As of September 1, 2009, the Texas Mileage Guide is no longer used to calculate mileage. Travelers are required to calculate mileage by one of the following two methods:
Travelers are required to select the shortest and most economical route but may justify the selection of another route if it was chosen for safety reasons and specific justification of the selection is given.
To assist employees in documenting their travel, some districts have developed mileage charts listing the distance between various duty points within the district. Such a chart should be developed in accordance with local policy and must be based on one of the two approved methods of mileage calculation (odometer reading or electronic mapping source). Travelers whose districts have developed such a chart are not required to calculate their mileage by either the odometer reading or electronic mapping source method; reference to the district’s mileage chart is sufficient.
If local policy restricts travel, per diem, and other travel expenses to a rate less than State law, the applicant must budget and request reimbursement from the grant at the lesser rate. If local policy exceeds the maximum recovery rate specified in the Appropriations Bill, then the difference must be paid from state or local funds, i.e., not from grant funds. Travel allowances, in which the per diem is paid to the employee regardless of the amount actually expended, are not allowable.
Follow these steps to access meal and lodging reimbursement information and rates through the Texas State Comptroller’s website at http://window.state.tx.us.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The comptroller’s site links to the federal General Services Administration (GSA) site, where reimbursement rates are listed, including the federal “standard rate.” The federal standard reimbursement rate is different from the current maximum reimbursement rate in Texas. Do not use the federal “standard rate.”
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not locate the destination by entering the ZIP code. Entering the ZIP code for unlisted destinations will return the federal “standard rate,” which is different from the current maximum rate for Texas.
If the Texas city to which you are traveling is not listed, check the county list. If the county to which you are traveling is listed, use the rate given for that county.
In-State Day Trips
“Designated headquarters” is defined as the area within the boundaries of the city or town in which a traveler’s place of employment is located. Travel must take the employee outside designated headquarters for more than six consecutive hours; the cost of meals for travel lasting less than six consecutive hours is not allowable to be charged to the grant.
If the out-of-state city to which you are traveling is not listed on the Federal Rate Schedule, find the city on the list that is nearest geographically to your travel destination and apply the lodging and meal rates given for that city. When determining the nearest listed city, it is permissible to cross state lines. (For example, if travel takes you to northern New Mexico, the nearest listed city might be a city in Colorado rather than another location in New Mexico.) If the travel destination is equidistant from more than one other listed city, rates from the lowest listed city must be used.
For both in-state and out-of-state travel, the traveler may apply funds available for meal reimbursement (i.e., up to the rate specified in the Federal Rate Schedule or $36, depending on whether the destination is specified in the Federal Rate Schedule) toward lodging. For instance, if the traveler chooses for the sake of convenience to stay in a hotel that costs $10 more a night than the allowable maximum for lodging, the traveler can apply $10 of the maximum available for meal reimbursement toward the lodging rate. If the traveler chooses to apply meal reimbursement to lodging, the maximum meal reimbursement rate is reduced by the same amount (applying $10 of the meal reimbursement to lodging would reduce the meal reimbursement by $10). NOTE: The opposite case does not apply; that is, a traveler may not reduce the amount spent on lodging and increase the amount spent on meals. Under no circumstances may a traveler be reimbursed from grant funds for meals at a rate that exceeds the rate given on the Federal Rate Schedule (or $36, depending on whether the destination is specified in the Federal Rate Schedule).
Summary of Rates
If you have any questions about these travel reimbursement rates that apply to all TEA grants, please contact the Division of Discretionary Grants at DiscretionaryGrants@tea.state.tx.us.
Earin M. Martin, EdD
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