Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Sunday, September 03, 2006

VA Issues: VA SPENDS $348M ON TRAVEL IN 2005



Air fares, hotels, rental cars, meals and other expenses total more than one-third of a billion dollars.

I'm not sure how the VA can justify all of this travel expense. With teleconferencing easily available this figure could be cut way down. VA doctors use telemedicine to communicate with veterans about their healthcare...an "electronic" example that could be used at every level of the VA. Perhaps our VA employees should take advantage of the electronic marvels at their fingertips instead of jumping on a plane.

govexec dot com
By Daniel Pulliam
September 3, 2006
via: VA Watchdog-Larry Scott

Driven by Defense Dept expenditures, agency spending on travel boomed in fiscal 2005, up to $2.2B to $15.4B, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Travel buying increased significantly at the Homeland Security Dept, rising from $849M to $940M. But even that was small change compared with the Pentagon's increase---from $8.9B in 2004 to $10.9B in 2005. The $2B rise is rivaled only by a $1.7B gain between 2002 and 2003. Travel spending by the military is now more than double that of all other federal agencies combined.

The 2005 governmentwide increase is nearly double the $1.3B rise in 2004, but travel expenditures were for the most part outside Defense and Homeland Security.

Other top travelers include the Justice, Agriculture and VA departments. Justice, at $395M, spent less than half than Homeland Security. Agriculture and VA have been battling for the No. 4 spot on the top travelers list for several years with Agriculture reclaiming the position it lost in 2004, spending $366M in 2005, up from $329M in 2004. VA spending increased $18M to $348M in 2005.

This and much more information about federal spending patterns is included in the Aug. 15 issue of Government Executive, which features a complete list of the Top 200 Federal Contractors.

The largest drop in travel spending occurred at the Transportation Dept, which spent $231M in 2004, but only $206M in 2005. Three other departments---Housing and Urban Development, Interior and Labor---saw spending slump by a combined $12M. The Securities and Exchange Commission, at the bottom of the list, dropped $11M on travel.

According to the General Services Administration, agencies spent more than $3.4B on their travel money on airfare, just under $2B on hotels and $378M renting automobiles in 2005. United Airlines managed to hold on to its spot at the top of the market with $846M in sales, followed closely by Delta Air Lines with $718M. American Airlines again came in No. 3 with $491M in sales. Combined, the three companies dominate the federal market, with 24.8%, 21% and 14.4% shares, respectively; American's percent slipped slightly from last year.

Marriott hotels, Holiday Inns, Residence Inns and Hilton hotels were the most popular destinations for federal travelers in 2005. The four chains accounted for a quarter of the $1.99B federal hotel market. Marriott International Inc. held on to the top spot with $146M followed by Holiday Inn with $142M. Residence Inn by Marriott brought in $125M followed by Hilton Hotels Corp. with $114M. No other hotel chain exceeded 4% of the market.

Hertz Corp. remains the preferred auto rental shop, netting $76.4M---20.2% of all cars. Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Avis Rent-a-Car, Budget Rent a Car and National Car Rental followed.

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