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Transportation

1. Airlines
2. Shuttle Bus Service
3. Automobile Rental
4. Private Automobile


The traveler is responsible for coordinating transportation with a travel agent or directly with the carrier/rental agency. The traveler must confirm departure/arrival dates and times with the airlines as well as pick up/return dates and times with rental agencies, if applicable. All costs and all applicable sales taxes must be determined and submitted on a purchase requisition as described in the sections below.

In some instances, the traveler may wish to charge these transportation expenses to her/his own personal credit card to take advantage of special travel insurance and/or reduced rates that may be available. This is acceptable; however, the traveler must be aware that the cost of personal travel insurance and interest charges that may accrue as a result of the use of a personal credit card will NOT be reimbursed. The traveler must also keep in mind that a personal expense reimbursement may be denied if the expense is deemed unallowable or if budget is not available. Non-refundable transportation expenses may be reimbursed prior to travel. A copy of the paid invoice or ticket(s), clearly marked non-refundable, must be attached to a completed Check Request, signed by the PI, and forwarded to the SR administrator for approval.

1. Airlines

All air travel must be economy or coach class, and special, low-cost rates should be used when possible. If any other class of air travel such as "first class," “business class” or “economy plus” is requested, SDSU Research Foundation is responsible for the basic economy or coach rate only. Please note that most federally-funded programs require travelers to use U.S. flag carriers in accordance with the Fly America Act. See your SR administrator for details of this requirement.

To purchase airline tickets, the traveler completes a Purchase Requisition signed by the PI or designee, and forwards it to the SR administrator for approval. The purchasing department then processes the Purchase Requisition and a Purchase Order is issued to the vendor. Alternate vendor bids are not required for airline tickets.

CAUTION: Should you choose to use your frequent flyer benefits to acquire airline tickets for business use, you are not eligible for reimbursement of the cost of a comparable ticket.

2. Shuttle Bus Service

The travel agent or hotel can provide information about shuttle bus or similar service, which should be used when reasonable instead of taxi service or rental cars for travel to and from airports.

3. Automobile Rental

To reserve a rental car the traveler completes a Purchase Requisition signed by the PI or designee, and forwards it to the SR administrator for approval. The purchasing department then processes the Purchase Requisition and a Purchase Order is issued to the vendor. Alternate vendor bids are not required for automobile rentals.

Only compact or intermediate automobiles may be rented.

Note that the rental of any vehicle designed, used, or maintained for carrying more than ten passengers, including the driver, is expressly prohibited without prior approval of SDSURF’s risk management department. For additional information, contact SDSURF’s risk management department.

Automobile insurance for rented vehicles is provided for SDSURF employees, PIs, and project staff who are employed by SDSURF and are participating in SDSURF-related business activities. When employees rent vehicles to conduct SDSURF business, they should advise the rental agency that they are renting the car to use while on SDSURF business and deny the comprehensive, collision, and general liability coverages. All three of these coverages are provided under a single SDSURF policy. If a rental agency requires proof of insurance, a Certificate of Auto Insurance outlining policy coverage is available at www.foundation.sdsu.edu/pdf/risk_cert_of_ins_auto.pdf . Please note: there is a $1,000 deductible and SDSURF’s policy does not cover damage for rentals of more than thirty (30) consecutive days or for losses reported more than forty-five (45) days from date of loss. All uninsured losses and the $1,000 deductible will be charged to the project or department.

SDSURF’s automobile insurance does not cover loss of an employee’s personal property. Some rental agencies provide personal property coverage. Most homeowner or renter policies provide this coverage for employees when they rent vehicles, but employees should review those policies to ensure that this exposure is covered. If not, the employee has the option to purchase, at their own expense, coverage for personal belongings.

Medical and/or personal accident insurance is not an allowable business expense, and if purchased, shall be the sole responsibility of the traveler.

For any SDSURF vehicle, rental car, or personal vehicle used for travel in a foreign territory on SDSURF business, auto liability and physical damage coverage must be purchased in advance from a reputable insurance company, prior to entering that country. Since foreign insurance coverage and programs are individualized, the auto insurance purchased must be applicable to all foreign territories within the route of travel.

4. Private Automobile

Effective January 1, 2014, the claimant may be reimbursed for business use of a privately owned automobile at the not-to-exceed rate of fifty-six and cents (56¢) per mile (The rate for 2013 was 56.5¢). Please note that some grants and/or contracts may require more restrictive reimbursement rates. Check with the SR administrator for clarification. Persons authorized to use their private vehicle for SDSU Research Foundation-managed business are required to submit mileage and parking reimbursement claims on SDSU Research Foundation’s Mileage Reimbursement Claim form.  The requestor is authorized to use this form whenever the expense is for mileage and parking expenses only.  When mileage plus a meal and incidental expense allowance is requested, SDSU Research Foundation’s Travel Reimbursement Request form must be used.

Each mileage reimbursement claim is audited for compliance with SDSU Research Foundation travel policies. If a reimbursement claim requires adjustments or corrections totaling less than ten dollars, accounts payable makes the adjustment and issues the check for the correct amount. Accounts payable staff notifies the requester of adjustments only when the adjusted amount is equal to or greater than ten dollars. In these instances, accounts payable returns the request with an explanation of the adjustment to the requester. If able to provide additional receipts and/or explanation for the disallowed expense, the requester may resubmit the check request to the SR administrator, who approves and then forwards to accounts payable for processing.

There is sometimes confusion about what mileage is eligible for reimbursement when you are required to go to more than one job site in a given day. The general rule of thumb is that the first and last commutes of the day are not eligible for reimbursement. Examples to illustrate this point follow:

  • When you drive from home to your regular job site, this mileage is not eligible for reimbursement as it is the first commute of the day.
  • When you drive from home to a meeting or other business activity at a temporary job site, this mileage is not eligible for reimbursement as it is the first commute of the day.
  • When you drive from your regular job site to a temporary job site, this mileage is eligible for reimbursement. If you visit several temporary job sites, this mileage is also eligible.
  • When you drive from a temporary job site back to your regular job site, this mileage is eligible for reimbursement.
  • When you drive from your temporary job site to home, this mileage is not eligible for reimbursement as it is the last commute of the day.
  • When you drive from your regular job site to home, this mileage is not eligible for reimbursement as it is the last commute of the day.

    Exceptions to this general rule may be allowed under the following limited conditions:

    Daily mileage expenses may be reimbursed when driving between the employee’s home and a temporary job site OUTSIDE the metropolitan area (metropolitan area is defined as the area within San Diego County) and the distance driven to the temporary job site is greater than would normally be incurred in driving from home to a regular job site.

    Should you qualify and choose to use this exception, you must download and complete the current version of the Mileage Reimbursement Request.  The mileage form has been modified to allow you to certify that the mileage claimed to drive to a temporary job site outside the metropolitan area is greater than what you would normally incur when driving from home to your regular job site. 

    The Mileage Reimbursement Request form is located on the SDSU Research Foundation's web site at AP Forms.
  • Daily mileage expenses may be reimbursed when going between the employee's home and a temporary job site when the employee's home qualifies under IRS regulations as an office in the home. These regulations are summarized as follows:
    • Your home office must be for the convenience of the employer.  The convenience of your employer test is satisfied if
      • You maintain your home office as a condition of employment – in other words, your employer specifically requires you to maintain the home office and work there;
      • Your home office is necessary for the functioning of your employer's business; or
      • Your home office is necessary to allow you to perform your duties as an employee properly.
    • Your home office must be used exclusively and on a regular basis in connection with your work as an employee.
      • The exclusive use requirement means that you must use your home office solely for the purpose of carrying on your work as an employee.  Any other use of the home office will result in loss of all deductions for your home office.  For example, if you work in a spare bedroom that contains your desk, computer, fax, files, etc., and if you don’t use that bedroom for anything but your work, that room passes the exclusive use test.  But if you also use the room to sleep occasional overnight guests, it fails the exclusive use requirement.
      • The regular basis requirement means that you must use the home office in carrying on your business on a continuous, ongoing or recurring basis.  Generally, this means a few hours a week, every week.  A few days a month, every month, may qualify.  Occasional, “once-in-awhile” business use won’t qualify.

Should you qualify and choose to use this exemption, you are required to complete a Certification of Eligibility for Reimbursement of Automobile Mileage – Office in Home form and attach this to your Mileage Reimbursement Request form.  These forms are located on SDSU Research Foundation’s web site at AP Forms

In the event that a traveler can use air travel, and chooses instead to use a private vehicle, he/she will be reimbursed at the current mileage rate or the equivalent of a round-trip airfare, whichever is less. The average cost of round-trip airfare is to be determined by SDSU Research Foundation’s travel coordinator. Justification for the use of a private vehicle must be included with the travel reimbursement claim. The traveler may not receive a meal and incidental expense for the personal time spent traveling via private vehicle as compared to the air travel time to the same destination.

The rates of reimbursement for mileage include the cost of maintaining liability insurance at the minimum amount prescribed by law and collision insurance sufficient to cover the reasonable value of the vehicle, less a standard deductible. A private vehicle must not be used on SDSU Research Foundation business unless the following requirements are in effect:

  • Vehicle must be covered by liability insurance for at least the minimum prescribed by State Law
  • Driver must be in possession of a valid driver’s license.
  • Current vehicle registration and proof of insurance must be in the vehicle at all times.
  • Vehicle must be equipped with safety belts in operating condition and all passengers are required to wear them.
  • Driver only carries passengers who are also on SDSU Research Foundation business.
  • Vehicle is adequate for the job to be performed.
  • All accidents must be reported within 24 hours to SDSU Research Foundation’s risk management staff at (619) 594-4139.

The vehicle owner must be aware that her/his personal automobile insurance is the primary insurance in the event of an accident. The insurance policy covering the primary owned vehicle will respond to the accident. SDSURF will not provide primary insurance coverage. If you do not want your personal auto insurance to be involved, do not use your auto on SDSU Research Foundation business. SDSU Research Foundation’s insurance coverage is only applicable if the auto owner’s liability exceeds her/his personal liability insurance coverage. Insurance carriers normally allow the occasional use of privately owned vehicles for business trips without an increase in premium rates. If a private vehicle is regularly used on SDSU Research Foundation business, an employee should notify her/his insurance carrier.


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