WASHINGTON -- The General Services Administration raised the maximum lodging rate for federal travelers in El Paso, Texas, from $56 to $78, effective immediately.

It is expected to be the only revision in lodging per diems this year.

The GSA acted after learning that an unusually large number of federal undercover agents travel to El Paso and, for security reasons, do not use the federal charge card when checking into hotels.

As a result, data on their trips did not show up in the charge card database that the GSA used to set per diem rates for 1998. When the GSA realized it needed to take another survey of El Paso hotels to set a new rate, it had to include higher-priced properties, and the rate went up for all federal travelers and cost-reimbursable contractors.

The maximum reimbursable per diem for meals and incidentals at El Paso stayed at $34, resulting in a total $112 per diem.

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