DATE: December 22, 2003

SUBJECT: Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) Amendment 2003-07; eTravel Service (eTS)

SOURCE: Federal Register, December 22, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 245, page 71026

AGENCIES: Office of Governmentwide Policy, General Services Administration (GSA)

ACTION: Final Rule

SYNOPSIS: GSA is amending the FTR to require agencies to submit plans and schedules for migrating to eTS no later than March 31, 2004; to begin implementing the eTS no later than December 31, 2004; and to complete migration to eTS for full agency-wide use by September 30, 2006.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The FTR is Chapters 300 through 304 of Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

For more on the proposed rule, see the June 20, 2003, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCHFederal Travel Regulation (FTR); eTravel Service (eTS).”

For more on the notice of the availability of FedTrip, the first part of eTS, see the March 20, 2003, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) Bulletin 2003-B1, eTravel Initiative."

For more on the notice of the creation of the eTravel initiative and GSA's intent to require agencies to use the system by the end of 2003, see the July 25, 2002, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) Bulletin 26, eTravel Initiative."

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 21, 2004.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Umeki Thorne, Office of Governmentwide Policy, Travel Management Policy, 703-872-8590.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: On July 25, 2002, GSA announced the creation of the eTravel Initiative and of its intent to require agencies to use the governmentwide, web-based, end-to-end travel management system by the end of 2003. The purpose of the eTravel Initiative is to establish a single portal that federal employees will use when making official business trips to obtain travel authorizations, make hotel and car rental reservations, and pay for airline tickets and other expenses. The system will work much like commercial web-based systems that the public uses to book business travel. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The eTravel Initiative is one of the Bush Administration's 25 "e-gov" initiatives that are intended to address performance gaps in existing government systems.)

On March 20, 2003, GSA notified agencies that "FedTrip" was available as the online booking service available governmentwide, and that it "should be agencies' first choice for making temporary duty travel arrangements...until the governmentwide, web-based end-to-end travel management service is available...Providing an online booking service is the initial phase of reengineering the entire travel process to realize significant cost savings to the government, to improve employees' productivity, and to provide a unified, simplified official travel process."

On June 30, 2003, GSA published a proposed rule that would require agencies to migrate to eTS, the replacement for FedTrip and agencies' travel management services for booking common carrier (air, rail, bus confirmations and seat assignments), lodging, and car rental reservations; fulfilling ticketing reservations; and providing basic management information on those activities. This proposed rule defined "eTS" as "the common governmentwide end-to-end travel management service that automates and consolidates the federal travel process in a web-centric environment, covering all aspects of travel planning, from authorization, reservations, expense reporting, and reimbursement" (proposed FTR 300-3.1, What do the following terms mean?). According to the proposed rule, agencies would be required to have “internal policies and procedures in place to govern use of the program including a plan and timeline to implement eTS no later than December 31, 2004, with agency-wide migration to eTS completed no later than September 30, 2006” (proposed FTR 301-73.2 What are our responsibilities as participants in the federal travel management program?).

Comments on the proposed rule were received from 10 federal agencies and an individual. Based on the comments, the proposed rule is adopted as final with changes. The following are the key provisions of the final rule, with differences between the proposed and final versions of the rule indicated:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2003 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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