B-145094, SEPTEMBER 23, 1969, 49 COMP. GEN. 202

B-145094: Sep 23, 1969

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PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES TO CONDUCT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS FOR THE PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF AIR POLLUTION IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE APPROPRIATION AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENT OF 31 U.S.C. 638AA). AS THESE STATUTORY PROHIBITIONS ARE INTENDED FOR IMPOSITION ON THE PURCHASE OF VEHICLES TO BE USED TO CARRY PASSENGERS. IF A CERTIFICATE TO THE EFFECT THAT THE VEHICLES ARE NECESSARY TO EFFECTUATE THE PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAMS CONTEMPLATED AND THAT THEY WILL NOT BE USED TO CARRY PASSENGERS APPEARS ON OR ACCOMPANIES THE PAYMENT VOUCHER. NO OBJECTION TO PAYMENT FOR THE VEHICLES WILL BE RAISED. 1969: THIS IS IN REFERENCE TO LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 8.

B-145094, SEPTEMBER 23, 1969, 49 COMP. GEN. 202

VEHICLES -- PURCHASES -- PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES TO CONDUCT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS FOR THE PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF AIR POLLUTION IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE APPROPRIATION AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENT OF 31 U.S.C. 638AA), NOR THE MAXIMUM PRICE LIMITATION IN SECTION 638C, AS THESE STATUTORY PROHIBITIONS ARE INTENDED FOR IMPOSITION ON THE PURCHASE OF VEHICLES TO BE USED TO CARRY PASSENGERS. THEREFORE, IF A CERTIFICATE TO THE EFFECT THAT THE VEHICLES ARE NECESSARY TO EFFECTUATE THE PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAMS CONTEMPLATED AND THAT THEY WILL NOT BE USED TO CARRY PASSENGERS APPEARS ON OR ACCOMPANIES THE PAYMENT VOUCHER, NO OBJECTION TO PAYMENT FOR THE VEHICLES WILL BE RAISED.

TO THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE, SEPTEMBER 23, 1969:

THIS IS IN REFERENCE TO LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 8, 1969, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, COMPTROLLER, REQUESTING A DECISION ON WHETHER THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES BY THE NATIONAL AIR POLLUTION CONTROL ADMINISTRATION (NAPCA) FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES IS SUBJECT TO THE AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENTS OF 31 U.S.C. 638AA), AND THE MAXIMUM PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATION OF 31 U.S.C. 638C.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY EXPLAINS THE MATTER AS FOLLOWS:

THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE IS AUTHORIZED BY SECTIONS 103 AND 104 OF THE CLEAN AIR ACT, 42 U.S.C. 1857B, 1857B-1, TO CONDUCT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS FOR THE PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF AIR POLLUTION AND, IN PARTICULAR, AIR POLLUTION RESULTING FROM THE COMBUSTION AND EMISSION OF FUELS FROM MOTOR VEHICLES. IN CARRYING OUT SUCH RESEARCH, IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR NAPCA TO PURCHASE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES AND TO MAKE EXTENSIVE TESTS ON SUCH VEHICLES OF VARIOUS EXHAUST CONTROL DEVICES, ENGINE MODIFICATIONS, POWER SOURCES, FUELS, AND FUEL ADDITIVES. IN THE COURSE OF SUCH RESEARCH, NAPCA ESTIMATES THAT 90 PERCENT OF THE TIME THAT THE VEHICLES ARE IN USE WILL BE DEVOTED TO LABORATORY DYNAMOMETER TESTS ON THE VEHICLES. IN ORDER TO PERFORM TESTS ON THE VEHICLES UNDER ACTUAL ROAD CONDITIONS, THEY WILL BE DRIVEN ON PUBLIC ROADS FOR ABOUT 10 PERCENT OF THE TIME THEY ARE IN USE BY THE TECHNICIANS OR PROJECT ENGINEERS WORKING ON THE TESTS. THE VEHICLES WILL NOT BE USED TO TRANSPORT PASSENGERS OR SUPPLIES AND WILL BE USED ONLY IN FURTHERANCE OF RESEARCH ON MOTOR VEHICLE FUEL EMISSIONS, EITHER IN THE LABORATORY OR ON PUBLIC ROADS.

WE RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS A STATUTORY PROHIBITION ON THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY THE APPROPRIATION CONCERNED OR OTHER LAW. 31 U.S.C. 638AA). WE BELIEVE, HOWEVER, THAT THAT PROHIBITION WAS NOT INTENDED TO APPLY TO THE PURCHASE OF VEHICLES TO BE USED SOLELY FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES. WHILE, AS THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL POINTED OUT IN A DECISION TO THIS DEPARTMENT, 40 COMP. GEN. 205, 207, THE "STATUTE MAKES NO MENTION OF THE USE TO BE MADE OF THE VEHICLE, WHETHER TO CARRY PASSENGERS OR TO CARRY MATERIALS," IT IS NOT LIKELY THAT CONGRESS INTENDED THE PROHIBITION TO BE APPLICABLE TO VEHICLES PURCHASED FOR RESEARCH AND TESTING PURPOSES ONLY, WITH BUT MINIMAL USE ON THE ROAD, AND THEN ONLY IN FURTHERANCE OF SUCH RESEARCH PURPOSES.

IT WAS HELD IN 1 COMP. GEN. 360 (1922), THAT PURCHASE OF AN AUTOMOBILE TO BE EQUIPPED AND USED SOLELY FOR TESTING AND LABORATORY PURPOSES, AND IN NO SENSE FOR SERVICE AS A MEANS OF PASSENGER CARRYING, IS NOT WITHIN THE STATUTORY PROHIBITION AS TO THE PURCHASE OF MOTORPROPELLED PASSENGER CARRYING VEHICLES WITHOUT SPECIFIC AUTHORITY OF CONGRESS THEREFOR. ALSO, IN AN UNPUBLISHED DECISION OF THIS OFFICE TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, B-81562, DECEMBER 1, 1948, IT WAS HELD THAT THE PURCHASE OF AN AUTOMOBILE FOR RESEARCH AND TESTING ON THE USE OF ALCOHOL AS A MOTOR FUEL WAS NOT SUBJECT TO THE MAXIMUM STATUTORY PRICE LIMITATION IF IT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE PURCHASE OF THE VEHICLE WAS NECESSARY TO EFFECTUATE THE PURPOSES OF RESEARCH PROGRAM, AND A CERTIFICATE TO THE EFFECT THAT SUCH VEHICLE WOULD NOT BE USED FOR PASSENGER CARRYING PURPOSES WOULD APPEAR UPON OR ACCOMPANY THE VOUCHER UPON WHICH PAYMENT WAS TO BE MADE.

IF THE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES PROPOSED TO BE PURCHASED BY NAPCA ARE TO BE USED SOLELY FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES AND A CERTIFICATE TO SUCH EFFECT SUPPORTS THE PROCUREMENT, NO OBJECTION TO PAYMENT THEREFOR WILL BE RAISED BY THIS OFFICE.