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Transportation

A. State Vehicles

When traveling by car is determined to be feasible, a state car, when appropriate and available, should be used instead of a private car.

State-owned cars shall be driven only by state employees and used only for official state business (G.S. 14-247 Private Use Of Publicly Owned Vehicles):

It shall be unlawful for any officer, agent, or employee of the State of North Carolina, or of any county or of any institution or agency of the State, to use for any private purpose whatsoever any motor vehicle of any type or description whatsoever belonging to the State, or to any county, or to any institution or agency of the State. It shall be unlawful for any person to violate a rule or regulation adopted by the Department of Administration and approved by the Governor concerning the control of all state-owned passenger motor vehicles as provided in G.S. 143-341(8)I with the intent to defraud the State of North Carolina. (1925, c. 239, s.1: 1981, c. 859, ss.52; 1983, c. 717, s. 75.)

 A state employee is any individual working for the State of North Carolina who receives a state check for wages or salary with taxes withheld. Students (or any other individuals who are not state employees) cannot drive state cars for any purpose. Persons not employed by the State may accompany state employees who are driving state-owned vehicles when they have a compelling interest in the purpose of the trip and their presence is related to state business. Contracted persons may not drive a state car. Only state employees may drive state cars.

When a state-owned car is used for official travel, all parking and storage fees, tolls, and required repairs are legitimate charges to the State, provided necessary receipts are obtained. Reimbursement of expenses for airport parking for both private and state-owned cars is limited to ninety-six hours, with receipt required. Parking expenses in excess of ninety-six hours may be reimbursed in extraordinary circumstances if advance approval is obtained.

At the employee's destination, state cars may be used prudently for travel to obtain meals, but not for private purposes or for entertainment while off duty. No common carrier or public transportation fares are reimbursable for a trip on which an employee uses a state car, unless it is shown that such transportation was more economical in a particular situation.

 Hitchhikers are not permitted to ride in state-owned vehicles.

 State vehicles shall not be used by employees who are on vacation status.

B. Private Cars

When travel by car is determined to be feasible, a state-owned vehicle, when available, should be used instead of a private vehicle. Please check with your department and Motor Pool to determine if a state car is available.  If requesting reimbursement by private vehicle please include written documentation from the department and Motor Pool that a state car was not available.

Use of a personal vehicle requires approval of the department head or his/her designee. Actual mileage is reimbursable. Mileage is measured from the closer of duty station or point of departure to destination (and return). The business standard mileage rate set by the Internal Revenue Service ($.56 per mile effective for travel beginning on or after January 1, 2014) will be paid if there is not a state-owned vehicle available and documentation from the Central Motor Pool is required.  Parking fees, tolls, and storage fees are reimbursable. Itemized receipts are required.  However, if a state employee chooses to use a personal vehicle when a state-owned vehicle is available, all departments and agencies will reimburse the employee at the motor fleet rate for mileage ($.30 per mile effective May 1, 2010).  Refer to state budget manual.

C. Commercial Airlines, Train, or Bus

Tickets for commercial air travel, train, and bus fare may be purchased on your American Express Corporate Card or personal credit card by the traveler and reimbursement claimed on the travel reimbursement form AFTER the travel. Reimbursement cannot be claimed for any purchases on the ECU Procard. A receipt copy of the ticket and boarding passes must be attached; the credit card charge form “summary draft” will not suffice. The airline ticket receipt must show the dates of the travel, the cost of the ticket, and/or the travel itinerary. Travel by air coach must be used.

Upgrades and Non-refundable tickets.  Written justification must be included in your travel reimbursement for upgrade charges and cancellation of tickets with no refunds. Please include the “Business Purpose” for the upgrades and the reason for cancellation of non-refundable trips.  Non-refundable tickets cannot be paid by state funds.  Please supply another type of funding. 

Penalties and charges resulting from the cancellation of airline reservations (or other travel reservations) shall be the university's obligation if the employee's travel has been approved in advance and the cancellation or change is made at the discretion of, and for the convenience of, the department. If the cancellation or change is made for the personal benefit of the employee, it shall be the employee's obligation to pay the penalties and charges. However, in the event of accidents, serious illness, or death within the employee's immediate family, or other critical circumstances beyond the control of the employee, the department will be obligated to pay the penalties and charges.

Super Saver Rates: When traveling by common carrier to conduct official state business, employees traveling to their destination earlier than necessary and/or delaying their return to avail the state of reduced transportation rates may be reimbursed subsistence for additional travel days if the amount saved in transportation costs due to the early and/or delayed travel is greater than the value of lost productivity and additional subsistence. The amount of savings must be documented with a statement from the airline company agent specifying the amount of funds saved by using the delayed travel option. This statement should be attached to the special travel request. Prior approval is required. Frequent Flyer Miles earned by a state employee while traveling on state business at state expense are the property of the state. Frequent flyer miles accumulated by an individual state employee during previous state business trips should, to the extent possible, be used by the state employee accumulating the frequent flyer miles while traveling on future state business trips. Coupons or certificates for reduced air fare if acquired by a state employee while traveling on state business at state expense are the property of the State and should be used, to the extent possible, by the state employee on future state business trips.

Reimbursement for airport parking and for travel between the employee's duty station and the nearest airline terminal is limited to a maximum of two round trips with no parking charge, or one round trip with a parking charge for a maximum of ninety-six hours. Parking charges exceeding the ninety-six-hour maximum are reimbursable if the total mileage and parking charge does not exceed the mileage cost of two round trips with no parking charges. Receipts are required for airport parking claims.

D. Charter Aircraft

The use of charter aircraft may be approved by the department head provided the following is substantiated and put in writing:

1.      A state aircraft is not available or not appropriate for the size of the party traveling or the destination airport

2.      The use of a charter flight is more economical than a commercial flight

3.      The use of a charter flight is necessary because of unusual circumstances

E. Transportation by Use of Aircraft Owned by a State Employee

Reimbursement for costs incurred in the use of aircraft, owned by a state employee, on official state business may be approved by the department head or his designee, provided the following is substantiated and put in writing:

1.      The use of the aircraft owned by a state employee is necessary because of unusual travel circumstances and is not for the sole convenience of the employee who owns the plane.

2.      The use of the aircraft, owned by a state employee, at the rates published below is cheaper than any other method of air travel.

3.      The allowable reimbursement rate for aircraft owned by a state employee is $.68 per mile per passenger.

F. Taxis and Limousines

The use of taxis and limousines must be approved by the department head. The actual costs of taxi and limousine fares are reimbursable when required for travel on state business. Taxi fares are not reimbursable for inter-city transportation, except when no less expensive mode of transportation is available within a reasonable period. You must have the name, address, and phone number of the cab company on a receipt signed by the taxi driver for each trip.

Reimbursement for taxi or shuttle from the airport to the meeting hotel and for the return trip will be at actual costs with receipts required.

G. Rental Cars

Written justification must be included in your travel package for the use of rental cars.  Rental car charges at the least expensive available rate are reimbursable when required for inter-city travel when no other available mode of transportation is practical. No reimbursement may be made for in-state use of a rental car when a state car or a private car is available. Requests for the use of a rental car must be approved in advance and a credit card obtained from the Department of Materials Management. The traveler may use a personal credit card and be reimbursed after the trip. The university will not be responsible for insurance charges, and reimbursement is not allowed for such charges. When renting cars inside the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, DO NOT accept any type of add on insurance.  Employees are covered by insurance per Risk Management.  Coverage does not extend to foreign countries, and ECU does allow reimbursement on the cost of the Collision Damage Waiver

The following travel expenses related to car rentals are not reimbursable to the traveler by the University:

A.     Collision Damage Waiver – Since the State of North Carolina is a self-insurer; this insurance coverage is not required for state employees.  A traveler choosing to pay for this type coverage will not be reimbursed by ECU.  If the traveler is involved in an accident with a rental car, and the possibility of a collision damage claim exists, he or she should contact the Insurance and Risk Manager at 328-2010. 

B.     Personal Accident Insurance – Acceptance of this insurance by the traveler will result in an additional fee or surcharge and is considered personal insurance.  Travelers choosing to pay for this coverage will not be reimbursed by ECU.

H. Parking and Tolls

Parking and tolls are reimbursable when incurred while traveling on official state business. Parking charges at an airline terminal are limited to a ninety-six-hour period unless conditions set forth in Section IIC are met. Receipts are required.