A-25820, FEBRUARY 14, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 444

A-25820: Feb 14, 1929

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IS FOR COMPUTATION BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. THE ROUTING USED FOR MILEAGE AS ESTABLISHED BY THE OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES WILL BE USED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS. DEPENDENTS ARE ONLY ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION ROUTING BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. THIS IS INTERPRETED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT TO MEAN VIA THE MOST ECONOMICAL USUALLY- TRAVELED COMMERCIAL ALL-RAIL ROUTE WHERE AVAILABLE. OR VIA THE MOST ECONOMICAL USUALLY-TRAVELED COMMERCIAL RAIL-AND-WATER ROUTE WHERE AN ABOVE DEFINED ALL-RAIL ROUTE IS NOT AVAILABLE. IS AVAILABLE. CITED AS THE BASIS FOR THE CHANGE IN THE REGULATIONS WAS THE CASE OF AN OFFICER DIRECTED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM PHILADELPHIA.

A-25820, FEBRUARY 14, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 444

TRANSPORTATION - ROUTES - DEPENDENTS OF ARMY OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN PAYMENT FOR COMMERCIAL COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS UNDER SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 631, IS FOR COMPUTATION BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, AND IN LIEU OF A BETTER GUIDE, IN ANY CASE OF AVAILABLE WATER OR COMBINATION OF WATER AND RAIL ROUTES, THE ROUTING USED FOR MILEAGE AS ESTABLISHED BY THE OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES WILL BE USED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, FEBRUARY 14, 1929:

THERE HAS RECENTLY COME TO ATTENTION IN THE AUDIT WAR DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR NO. 12, DATED MARCH 7, 1928, PARAGRAPH 5-1 OF WHICH PROVIDES:

UNDER DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, DATED DECEMBER 6, 1927, (7 COMP. GEN. 365), DEPENDENTS ARE ONLY ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION ROUTING BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. THIS IS INTERPRETED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT TO MEAN VIA THE MOST ECONOMICAL USUALLY- TRAVELED COMMERCIAL ALL-RAIL ROUTE WHERE AVAILABLE, OR VIA THE MOST ECONOMICAL USUALLY-TRAVELED COMMERCIAL RAIL-AND-WATER ROUTE WHERE AN ABOVE DEFINED ALL-RAIL ROUTE IS NOT AVAILABLE, OR VIA THE MOST ECONOMICAL USUALLY-TRAVELED COMMERCIAL WATER ROUTE WHERE NEITHER AN ALL-RAIL NOR RAIL -AND-WATER ROUTE, AS DEFINED ABOVE, IS AVAILABLE, SUBJECT, HOWEVER, TO THE USE OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTS AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH 6F AR 30-920.

CHANGES NO. 1, ARMY REGULATIONS 30-920, DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1928, MODIFIED THAT REGULATION AS PROMULGATED APRIL 15, 1927, SO AS TO EMBODY SUBSTANTIALLY THE MATTER QUOTED.

THE DECISION OF DECEMBER 6, 1927, CITED AS THE BASIS FOR THE CHANGE IN THE REGULATIONS WAS THE CASE OF AN OFFICER DIRECTED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM PHILADELPHIA, PA., TO THE HAWAIIAN DEPARTMENT. THE OFFICER AND HIS DEPENDENTS WERE FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION IN KIND TO SAN FRANCISCO, BY WAY OF PORTLAND, OREG. BY REASON OF LAND GRANT INVOLVED NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE WAS INCURRED FOR THE OFFICER'S TRANSPORTATION, BUT THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE OFFICER'S DEPENDENTS WAS IN EXCESS OF THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZED TO BE FURNISHED BY THE SHORTEST, MOST DIRECT, AND USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE FROM PHILADELPHIA TO SAN FRANCISCO, AND THE EXCESS WAS HELD TO BE FOR COLLECTION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MAY 18, 1920, 41 STAT. 604. THIS DECISION IS IN HARMONY WITH THE RULE IN EFFECT SINCE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE LAWS AUTHORIZING TRANSPORTATION FOR DEPENDENTS AND IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE CHANGE AS MADE IN ARMY REGULATIONS.

SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF MAY 18, 1920, 41 STAT. 604, AUTHORIZED THE FURNISHING OF TRANSPORTATION IN KIND TO DEPENDENTS OF OFFICERS, AND CERTAIN ENLISTED MEN, OF THE ARMY WHEN DIRECTED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION AND SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 631, PROVIDES THAT THE PRESIDENT MAY AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT IN MONEY OF AMOUNTS EQUAL TO THE COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION COSTS WHEN TRAVEL AS PROVIDED FOR IN THE 1920 ACT SHALL HAVE BEEN COMPLETED. PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE LATTER ACT THE PRESIDENT BY EXECUTIVE ORDER OF AUGUST 25, 1922, AUTHORIZED PAYMENTS IN MONEY FOR THE COST OF TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN BY COMMERCIAL CARRIER IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION IN KIND AUTHORIZED BY THE 1920 ACT, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE HEADS OF THE VARIOUS SERVICES MAY SEVERALLY PRESCRIBE FOR THE SERVICES UNDER THEIR CHARGE. THE ESSENTIAL TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS ON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS BY THE MOST DIRECT, SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW STATIONS OF THE OFFICER. IT IS FOR THIS TRAVEL THAT PAYMENT IN MONEY IS AUTHORIZED IN LIEU OF THE FURNISHING OF TRANSPORTATION IN KIND, AND ARMY REGULATIONS HAVE UNTIL RECENTLY PROVIDED FOR THE ROUTING OF DEPENDENTS VIA "THE MOST ECONOMICAL USUALLY TRAVELED COMMERCIAL ROUTE.' AR 30-920, APRIL 15, 1927, PARAGRAPH 6-C (1).

AN EXAMINATION OF PAYMENTS MADE UNDER THE REGULATIONS SHOWS THAT SOME DISBURSING OFFICERS, AT LEAST, ARE COMPUTING THE MONEY ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION BY CIRCUITOUS ALL-RAIL ROUTES, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THERE IS AVAILABLE DIRECT USUALLY TRAVELED COMMERCIAL ROUTES, WHICH INVOLVE WATER OR WATER AND RAIL TRAVEL. FOR EXAMPLE REFERENCE IS MADE TO FOUR VOUCHERS MAKING MONEY PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION IN KIND IN THE AUGUST, 1928, ACCOUNTS OF MAJ. E. T. COMEGYS, FINANCE OFFICER, WASHINGTON, D.C., AS FOLLOWS:

MAJ. DAVENPORT JOHNSON, AIR CORPS, UNITED STATES ARMY, IS PAID, ON VOUCHER 6934, $8.66, REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HIS WIFE FOR TRAVEL AUGUST 15-17, 1928, ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM LANGLEY FIELD, VA., TO WASHINGTON, D.C., COMPUTED BY ALL-RAIL ROUTE. THE METHOD OF TRAVEL ACTUALLY EMPLOYED IS NOT SHOWN, HOWEVER, THE WELL RECOGNIZED USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE OFFERING REASONABLE COMFORT TO THE TRAVEL IS BY WATER, FOR WHICH THE COST IS $6.41.

MAJ. E. J. CULLEN, C.A.C., UNITED STATES ARMY, IS, ON VOUCHER 6407, REIMBURSED $8.76, COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR HIS WIFE FOR TRAVEL BY ALL- RAIL ROUTE, JULY 31, 1928, ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, FROM FORT MONROE, VA., TO WASHINGTON, D.C. TRAVEL WAS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. THE MOST DIRECT USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE OFFERING REASONABLE COMFORT TO THE TRAVELER IS BY WATER, AT A COST OF $6.30.

CAPT. ROBERT C. SNIDOW, C.A.C., UNITED STATES ARMY, WAS REIMBURSED ON VOUCHER 7177 IN THE AMOUNT OF $10.58 FOR COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF HIS WIFE COMPUTED BY ALL-RAIL ROUTE FROM FORT MONROE, VA., TO CAMP HOLABIRD, MD., FOR TRAVEL JUNE 20, 1928, INCIDENT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION DIRECTED BY SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 74, WAR DEPARTMENT, DATED MARCH 29, 1928. THE METHOD OF TRAVEL DOES NOT APPEAR. THE MOST DIRECT USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE IS BY WATER AT A COST OF $6.30.

STAFF SERGT. JAMES T. PIERCE WAS DIRECTED BY SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 145, HEADQUARTERS, THIRD CORPS AREA, BALTIMORE, MD., TO MAKE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM FORT MONROE, VA., TO ERIE, PA. HE IS REIMBURSED ON VOUCHER 3471 FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HIS WIFE FOR TRAVEL STATED TO HAVE BEEN PERFORMED JULY 27-29, 1928, BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, IN THE AMOUNT OF $30.92, COMPUTED BY ALL-RAIL ROUTE, WHEREAS, THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE IS BY WATER AND RAIL, FOR WHICH THE THROUGH TARIFF RATE IS $26.07.

THE USE OF AVAILABLE WATER ROUTES AT LESS COMMERCIAL COST THAN ALL RAIL ROUTES HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE IN CLAIMS FOR THE COMMERCIAL COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS, AND INSTRUCTIONS IN THE PARTICULAR CASES PRESENTED HAVE BEEN TO SETTLE ON THE BASIS OF RAIL FARES. A-16097 AND A- 16175. THOSE CASES OCCURRED ON THE WEST COAST WHERE RAIL AND WATER ROUTES WERE PRACTICALLY PARALLEL AND WHERE THE RAIL ROUTE WAS DIRECT AND PRACTICABLE AND THE ONE USED MOST GENERALLY BY THE TRAVELING PUBLIC. THE CONSIDERATION OF THOSE CLAIMS THOUGHT WAS ALSO GIVEN TO THE APPLICATION OF RATES FOR INTERCITY BUS TRAVEL, IF THE PRINCIPLE WERE ADOPTED OF ALLOWING ONLY A CHEAPER WATER RATE IN ALL CASES WHERE IT COULD BE ASCERTAINED SUCH TRAVEL WAS PRACTICABLE, AS TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE BUS FOR SUBSTANTIAL DISTANCES IS RAPIDLY DEVELOPING. BUT IN THE STATE OF KNOWLEDGE OF, OR AVAILABLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION AS TO, RATES OF FARE FOR BUS TRAVEL, IT IS OBVIOUS THE APPLICATION OF SUCH A PRINCIPLE COULD RESULT ONLY IN COMPLICATIONS AND UNCERTAINTY IN THE SETTLEMENT OF SUCH ACCOUNTS, AND THAT THIS WOULD BE TRUE IN MANY CASES WERE WATER ROUTES, NOT GENERALLY KNOWN BUT AVAILABLE, USED AS THE BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF THE COMMERCIAL COST OF TRANSPORTATION.

THE ACTION IN THOSE CLAIMS (WHICH WOULD APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN THE BASIS OF THE CIRCULAR AND REVISED ARMY REGULATIONS AND NOT THE DECISION CITED) DID NOT DETERMINE, AND WAS NOT INTENDED TO DETERMINE, THAT ALL CASES WHERE TRAVEL IS POSSIBLE BY RAIL SHALL BE SETTLED ON THE BASIS OF THE RAIL FARE. THE TRAVELING PUBLIC, PRACTICALLY WITHOUT EXCEPTION, UTILIZES SOME WATER ROUTES OR COMBINATIONS OF RAIL AND WATER ROUTES BECAUSE OF THE GREATER COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE AND THE EQUAL OR GREATER EXPEDITION AS COMPARED WITH EXISTING ALL-RAIL ROUTES, WHICH IN SOME CASES ARE CIRCUITOUS AND FREQUENTLY INVOLVE EXCESSIVE DETENTION OR LAY-OVER IN MAKING CONNECTIONS. SUCH WATER, OR COMBINATION OF WATER AND RAIL, ROUTES HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED IN THE OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES AS THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED FOR THE PURPOSE OF MILEAGE, INCLUDING THE POINTS BETWEEN WHICH TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED IN THE CITED VOUCHERS, AS WILL APPEAR FROM THE TABLE BELOW:

TABLE

DISTANCES

FROM--- TO--- ALL ALL RAIL OFFICIAL

RAIL WATER AND TABLE OF

WATER DISTANCES FORT MONROE, VA ------- WASHINGTON, D.C - 201.5 188 ----- - 188

DO --------------- NORFOLK, VA ------ 172 13 ------ 13

DO --------------- BALTIMORE, MD ---- 241 171 ------ 171

DO --------------- ERIE, PA --------- 665 --- 595 595 SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF -- SEATTLE, WASH ---- 955 934 ------ 955

IN THE TABLE, FOR COMPARISON, IS INCLUDED THE MILEAGE DISTANCE BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND SEATTLE WHERE THE RAIL ROUTE IS USED FOR MILEAGE PURPOSES.

SO FAR AS PAYMENT FOR COMMERCIAL COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS IS CONCERNED THE RULE MUST BE THAT PAYMENT SHALL BE MADE BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, AND IN LIEU OF A BETTER GUIDE, IN ANY CASE OF AVAILABLE WATER OR COMBINATION OF WATER AND RAIL ROUTES, THE ROUTING USED FOR MILEAGE AS ESTABLISHED BY THE OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES WILL BE USED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS. THE RULE SET UP IN ARMY REGULATIONS 30-920 AS CHANGED BY CHANGES NO. 1, SEPTEMBER 5, 1928, IS NOT IN FACT BASED ON A DECISION OF THIS OFFICE, NOR DOES IT STATE A SOUND RULE. IT MAY NOT BE FOLLOWED IN THE AUDIT, AND PAYMENTS MADE UNDER ITS AUTHORITY AFTER FEBRUARY 28, 1929, WILL NOT BE PASSED TO THE CREDIT OF DISBURSING OFFICERS. PAYMENTS ON THE BASIS OF THE CITED ARMY REGULATION MADE PRIOR TO MARCH 1, 1929, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, WILL BE PASSED TO CREDIT.