Travel service given green light

The Transportation Department issued a formal request for proposals calling for a World Wide Web-based service that would process federal travelers' trip planning and expense documents, including electronic voucher approvals.

Service providers must respond by Aug. 28, and the proposals will be evaluated in September and October, said Susan Tollerson, project manager for the Web travel and expense system at DOT. The agency expects to award the contract to a single service provider by November, she said.

Staff members from the General Services Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department will participate in live testing and evaluation of the proposed services, Tollerson said. The agencies' involvement in the evaluation does not guarantee their participation in the final rollout of the new service, she said, but several agencies are interested in using the service to automate and speed the travel reimbursement process.

The agency estimates that about 70 percent of its transactions — about 210,000 trips — would be handled by the Web-based system, Tollerson said. In 1999, DOT spent $273 million on about 300,000 trips.

DOT also noted that while the Web-based expense system would not be immediately integrated with its self-booking engine, FedTrip (www.fedtrip.gov), the vendor should be open to the possibility of integrating the two at a later date.

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