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Transportation Documentation

Reference Number: MTAS-1169
Reviewed Date: 12/15/2022

All potential costs should be considered when selecting the modes of transportation. For example, airline travel may be cheaper than automobile when time away from work and increased meal and lodging costs are considered. When time is important, or when the trip is so long that other modes of transportation are not cost‑beneficial, air travel is encouraged.

If the traveler goes outside the state by means other than air, the reimbursement will be limited to air fare at tourist or economy class, ordinary expenses during the meeting dates, and one day's meals and motel before and after the meeting. The traveler will be required to take annual leave for any additional time taken beyond the day before and the day after the meeting dates.

Exceptions: When the traveler extends the trip with personal time to take advantage of discount fares, the reimbursement will be limited to the lesser of the:

  • Actual expenses incurred; or
  • Amount that would have been incurred for the business portion only. The calculations for the business portion of the trip must be made using the least expensive rates available.

All expenses and savings associated with extending the trip must be submitted with the expense reimbursement form.

A. Air
When possible, the traveler should make full use of discounts for advance airline reservations and advance registration. The traveler should request conference, government, or weekend rates, whichever is cheaper, when making lodging or rental car reservations. The city will pay for tourist or economy class air travel. The traveler should get the cheapest reasonable fare and take advantage of discount fares. Airline travel can be paid by direct billing to the city.

Mileage credits for frequent flyer programs accrue to the individual traveler. However, the city will not reimburse for additional expenses — such as circuitous routing, extended stays, layovers to schedule a particular carrier, upgrading from economy to first class — for travelers to accumulate additional mileage or for other personal reasons.

The city will not reimburse travel by private aircraft unless authorized in advance by the CAO.

B. Rail or Bus
The city will pay for actual cost of ticket.

C. Vehicles
Automobile transportation may be used when a common carrier cannot be scheduled, when it is more economical, when a common carrier is not practical, or when expenses can be reduced by two or more city employees traveling together.

  • Personal Vehicle. Employees should use city vehicles when possible. Use of a private vehicle must be approved in advance by the CAO. The city will pay a mileage rate not to exceed the rate allowed by the federal or state schedule, whichever the city adopts. The miles for reimbursement shall be paid from origin to destination and back by the most direct route. Necessary vicinity travel related to official city business will be reimbursed. However, mileage in excess of the Rand‑McNally mileage must be documented as necessary and business-related. If an indirect route is taken, the Rand-McNally mileage table will be used to determine the mileage to be reimbursed.
    • If a privately owned automobile is used by two or more travelers on the same trip, only the traveler who owns or has custody of the automobile will be reimbursed for mileage. It is the responsibility of the traveler to provide adequate insurance to hold harmless the city for any liability from the use of the private vehicle.
    • In no event will mileage reimbursement, plus vicinity travel and associated automobile costs, exceed the lowest reasonable available air fare and associated air fare travel costs.
    • Travelers will not be reimbursed for automotive repair or breakdowns when using their personal vehicle.
  • City Vehicle. The city may require the employee to drive a city vehicle. If a city vehicle is provided, the traveler is responsible for seeing that the vehicle is used properly and only for acceptable business. The employee will be reimbursed for expenses directly related to the actual and normal use of the city vehicle when proper documentation is provided. Out-of-town repair cost to the city vehicle in excess of $100 must be cleared with the proper city official before the repair is authorized.
  • Rental Cars. Use of a rental car is not permitted unless it's less expensive or otherwise more practical than public transportation. Approval of car rental is generally required in advance by the CAO. Always request the government or weekend rate, whichever is cheaper. Anyone who uses a rental car for out-of-state travel must obtain liability coverage from the vendor.
  • Fines for traffic or parking violations will not be reimbursed by the city.
  • Reasonable tolls will be allowed when the most direct travel route requires them.

D. Taxi, Limousine and Other Transportation Fares
When an individual travels by common carrier, reasonable fares will be allowed for necessary ground transportation. Bus or limousine service to and from airports should be used when available and practical. The city will reimburse mileage for travel to and from the local airport and parking fees, provided such costs do not exceed normal taxi/limousine fares to and from the airport. Receipts are required.

For travel between lodging quarters and meetings, conferences, or meals, reasonable taxi fares will be allowed. Remember, original receipts are required for claims of $5 or more. Transportation to and from shopping, entertainment, or other personal trips is the choice of the traveler and not reimbursable.

Reimbursement claims for taxis, limousines, or other ground transportation must be listed separately on the expense form, claiming the destination and amount of each fare.