Agencies rally behind DOT system

The Transportation Department's plan to outsource a Web-based travel and

expense system is gaining supporters.

Nine agencies have asked to be part of the multiagency evaluation team

that will assess proposed systems to automate the travel voucher and reimbursement

process, said David Kleinberg, DOT's deputy chief financial officer.

The nine agencies are the departments of Agriculture, Treasury, Veterans

Affairs, Justice, and Health and Human Services, as well as the National

Science Foundation, the General Services Administration, the Small Business

Administration and the International Broadcast Bureau.

DOT, which issued a formal solicitation for the program in late July,

extended the proposal due date from Aug. 28 to Sept. 11 to accommodate

issues raised by agencies and potential vendors, Kleinberg said. The agency

is looking for an application service provider to operate and maintain a

Web-based system that would process federal travelers' trip planning and

expense documents, including electronic voucher approvals.

An award is expected this winter.

Although the participation of more agencies in the demonstrations of

vendor systems and evaluations indicates interest, it does not represent

formal commitments to buy the DOT service, Kleinberg said.

"This thing is burgeoning," he said. "We thought we'd get one or two

agencies." In the end, more than 20 agencies may be involved, he said.

The service would offer receipt imaging, voucher examination and automated

distribution of reimbursements. The system would eventually be integrated

with an online travel-booking engine DOT plans to offer.

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