A-27490, JUNE 8, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 636

A-27490: Jun 8, 1929

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IT APPEARS THEY ARE DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED FOR USE PRIMARILY AS PASSENGER- CARRYING VEHICLES. THE FACT THAT THE VEHICLES ARE SO CONSTRUCTED THAT THEY MAY BE USED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF REPAIR MATERIAL. 1929: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 29. AS FOLLOWS: THE DEPARTMENT IS CONFRONTED WITH THE QUESTION OF ITS AUTHORITY TO PURCHASE VEHICLES OF THE KINDS DESCRIBED IN THE ATTACHED CATALOGUE CUTS. THESE VEHICLES ARE INTENDED FOR USE IN TRANSPORTING ONE OR TWO REPAIR MEN AND A LIMITED QUANTITY OF REPAIR MATERIAL. MANY OF THESE LINES ARE LOCATED AT ISOLATED POINTS AND CAN BE REACHED ONLY BY TRAVELING OVER ROUGH AND MOUNTAINOUS ROADS. IT IS REPRESENTED THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS TELEPHONE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR WORK AND THE CONDITIONS MET IN THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCH WORK NECESSITATE THE USE OF LIGHT AND STURDY VEHICLES TO ENABLE THE REPAIR MEN TO GET FROM PLACE TO PLACE EXPEDITIOUSLY AND WITH UNIMPAIRED EQUIPMENT.

A-27490, JUNE 8, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 636

PURCHASES - PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES THE TERM "PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE" AS USED IN SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508, INCLUDES ALL VEHICLES DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED PRIMARILY FOR CARRYING PASSENGERS REGARDLESS OF THE USE TO WHICH THEY MAY BE PUT AND WHERE, FROM THE DESCRIPTION AND PHOTOGRAPHS, IT APPEARS THEY ARE DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED FOR USE PRIMARILY AS PASSENGER- CARRYING VEHICLES. THE FACT THAT THE VEHICLES ARE SO CONSTRUCTED THAT THEY MAY BE USED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF REPAIR MATERIAL, TOOLS, TESTING EQUIPMENT, ETC., BY ATTACHING A SLIP-ON BODY DOES NOT AUTHORIZE CONSIDERING THEM AS OTHER THAN PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES, THE SLIP-ON BODY BEING AN ACCESSORY AND NOT AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE VEHICLE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JUNE 8, 1929:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 29, 1929, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DEPARTMENT IS CONFRONTED WITH THE QUESTION OF ITS AUTHORITY TO PURCHASE VEHICLES OF THE KINDS DESCRIBED IN THE ATTACHED CATALOGUE CUTS. THE VEHICLES IN QUESTION MAY BE BRIEFLY DESCRIBED AS FOLLOWS:

(1) ROADSTER WITH EITHER OPEN SLIP-ON BODY OR CLOSED SLIP-ON BODY, AS ILLUSTRATED BY MODELS 625-A AND 627-A ON ATTACHED CUTS.

(2) DE LUXE DELIVERY CAR, FOLLOWING THE LINES OF THE TUDOR SEDAN, AS ILLUSTRATED BY ATTACHED CUT.

THESE VEHICLES ARE INTENDED FOR USE IN TRANSPORTING ONE OR TWO REPAIR MEN AND A LIMITED QUANTITY OF REPAIR MATERIAL, TOOLS, AND TESTING EQUIPMENT OF A DELICATE NATURE TO VARIOUS POINTS IN COAST GUARD DISTRICTS FOR EMERGENT REPAIR OF GOVERNMENT TELEPHONE LINES. MANY OF THESE LINES ARE LOCATED AT ISOLATED POINTS AND CAN BE REACHED ONLY BY TRAVELING OVER ROUGH AND MOUNTAINOUS ROADS; AND IT IS REPRESENTED THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS TELEPHONE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR WORK AND THE CONDITIONS MET IN THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCH WORK NECESSITATE THE USE OF LIGHT AND STURDY VEHICLES TO ENABLE THE REPAIR MEN TO GET FROM PLACE TO PLACE EXPEDITIOUSLY AND WITH UNIMPAIRED EQUIPMENT.

HAVING BEFORE IT THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914 (38 STAT. 508), AND YOUR VARIOUS DECISIONS, PRINCIPALLY YOUR DECISION IN 3 COMP. GEN. 900, RELATING TO THE PURCHASE OF MOTOR-PROPELLED VEHICLES, THE DEPARTMENT IS IN DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF ITS AUTHORIZING THE PURCHASE OF THE VEHICLES IN QUESTION, PARTICULARLY IN VIEW OF THE CLAUSE "* * * DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED FOR USE PRIMARILY IN THE HAULING OF SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT. * *," IN THE DECISIONS MENTIONED. THEREFORE YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE DEPARTMENT CAN, WITHOUT CONTRAVENTION OF LAW, AUTHORIZE THE COAST GUARD TO PURCHASE THE VEHICLES IN QUESTION FOR THE USE SPECIFIED.

SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508, PROHIBITS THE USE OF ANY APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURCHASE OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER CARRYING VEHICLES FOR ANY BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE UNLESS SUCH USE IS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW. THIS PROHIBITION APPLIES TO ALL GOVERNMENT FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURES AND TO ALL BRANCHES OF THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE. 21 COMP. DEC. 14. THE TERM PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE AS USED IN SAID STATUTE INCLUDES ALL VEHICLES DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED PRIMARILY FOR CARRYING PASSENGERS REGARDLESS OF THE USE TO WHICH THEY MAY BE PUT. 21 COMP. DEC. 116; 23 ID. 19; 26 ID. 879.

FROM THE DESCRIPTION AND PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE VEHICLES, MODELS 625-A AND 627-A, IT IS CLEAR THAT THEY ARE DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED FOR USE PRIMARILY AS PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED IN THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, SUPRA. THE FACT THAT THE VEHICLES ARE SO CONSTRUCTED THAT THEY MAY BE USED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF REPAIR MATERIAL, TOOLS, TESTING EQUIPMENT, ETC., BY ATTACHING A SLIP-ON BODY DOES NOT AUTHORIZE CONSIDERING THEM AS OTHER THAN PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES, THE SLIP-ON BODY BEING AN ACCESSORY AND NOT AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE VEHICLE.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION SPECIFICALLY YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE PROPOSED PURCHASE OF THE MODELS 625-A AND 627-A, AS OUTLINED IN YOUR LETTER, WOULD BE IN DIRECT CONTRAVENTION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, SUPRA.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE DE LUXE DELIVERY CAR, IT APPEARS FROM THE DESCRIPTION AND PHOTOGRAPH THAT WHILE IT IS DESIGNED TO RESEMBLE A PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE AND TO CARRY AT LEAST ONE PASSENGER IN ADDITION TO THE DRIVER, IT IS NOT DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED FOR USE PRIMARILY AS A PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE WITHIN THE TERM AS USED IN THE SAID ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, SUPRA.SEE 21 COMP. DEC. 38; 26 ID. 904; 27 ID. 1016; 3 COMP. GEN. 900. THEREFORE, IF IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT SUCH A VEHICLE IS NECESSARY TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR WHICH ITS PURCHASE IS PROPOSED--- THAT IS, THAT NO CHEAPER VEHICLE WILL MEET THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE SERVICE--- ITS PURCHASE WOULD BE AUTHORIZED.