A-35108, FEBRUARY 10, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 359

A-35108: Feb 10, 1931

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WHEN THERE IS AVAILABLE TRAIN SERVICE LEAVING AT APPROXIMATELY THE SAME TIME WHICH WOULD NOT REQUIRE THE USE OF A PULLMAN BERTH. THE COST OF A CHAIR ONLY WILL BE ALLOWED. WHEN THE TRAVEL IS ON AN ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE BASIS. IS AUTHORIZED ONLY FOR EXPENSES ACTUALLY INCURRED FOR SUBSISTENCE. NOTWITHSTANDING THAT IT WAS LESS THAN IT WOULD HAVE COST HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN BY RAILROAD. - "* * * CLAIMANT COULD HAVE LEFT WICHITA AT 5.50 P.M. PROVIDES SPECIFICALLY THAT THE EXPENSE WILL BE ALLOWED TO THE EXTENT OF RAILROAD FARE PLUS PULLMAN. MANY AIRPLANE TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES HAVE ARBITRARILY REDUCED THEIR RATES FOR TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS TO THE EQUIVALENT OF RAILROAD FARE PLUS PULLMAN.

A-35108, FEBRUARY 10, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 359

TRAVELING EXPENSES - SUBSISTENCE - AIR TRAVEL TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS MAY BE PERFORMED BY AIRPLANE IF THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST OF THE RAILROAD FARE, PLUS PULLMAN FARE WHEN THE LENGTH OF JOURNEY WOULD AUTHORIZE THE USE OF PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS, LESS LAND-GRANT DEDUCTIONS WHEN APPLICABLE. WHEN THERE IS AVAILABLE TRAIN SERVICE LEAVING AT APPROXIMATELY THE SAME TIME WHICH WOULD NOT REQUIRE THE USE OF A PULLMAN BERTH, THE COST OF A CHAIR ONLY WILL BE ALLOWED. WHEN THE TRAVEL IS ON AN ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE BASIS, REIMBURSEMENT, IS AUTHORIZED ONLY FOR EXPENSES ACTUALLY INCURRED FOR SUBSISTENCE, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT IT WAS LESS THAN IT WOULD HAVE COST HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN BY RAILROAD.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, FEBRUARY 10, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED A LETTER FROM G. C. HOLT, INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN CHARGE, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA., DATED JANUARY 13, 1931, AS FOLLOWS:

PLEASE REFER TO NOTICE OF EXCEPTION, JANUARY 8, 1931, VOUCHER NO. 124, SUSPENSION OF AMOUNT PAID TO LOUIN E. MCELROY, INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT.

THE AMOUNT OF $1.95 CLAIMED IN THE AGENT'S EXPENSE ACCOUNT FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 1930, REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PULLMAN BERTH AND SEAT FROM WICHITA, KANS. TO OKLAHOMA CITY, HAS BEEN DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE --- "* * * CLAIMANT COULD HAVE LEFT WICHITA AT 5.50 P.M. AND ARRIVED AT OKLAHOMA CITY AT 10.05 P.M. * * *.'

TWO QUESTIONS ARISE IN THE MIND OF THE WRITER CONCERNING THIS DISALLOWANCE, UPON WHICH ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED FOR THE FUTURE GUIDANCE OF THIS OFFICE.

THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL WITH REFERENCE TO THE AUTHORIZED USE OF AIRPLANE AS A MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, PROVIDES SPECIFICALLY THAT THE EXPENSE WILL BE ALLOWED TO THE EXTENT OF RAILROAD FARE PLUS PULLMAN. IT DOES NOT DIFFERENTIATE BETWEN PULLMAN BERTH AND PULLMAN SEAT.

IN VIEW OF THIS DECISION, MANY AIRPLANE TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES HAVE ARBITRARILY REDUCED THEIR RATES FOR TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS TO THE EQUIVALENT OF RAILROAD FARE PLUS PULLMAN. IF SUCH AN ALLOWANCE IS TO BE LIMITED TO RAILROAD FARE PLUS PULLMAN SEAT, THIS OFFICE SHOULD BE ADVISED AS ALL OTHER ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN APPROVED TO THE EXTENT OF RAILROAD FARE PLUS PULLMAN BERTH.

THE SECOND QUESTION UPON WHICH ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED IS WHETHER OR NOT ADDITIONAL EXPENSE AND LOSS OF TIME INCURRED THROUGH THE USE OF PULLMAN SEAT SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN EQUAL WEIGHT. IT IS TRUE IN THIS CASE THAT HAD THE AGENT TRAVELED ON THE 5.50 P.M. TRAIN HE WOULD HAVE NOT INCURRED A CHARGE FOR PULLMAN BERTH, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, HAD HE DONE SO HE WOULD HAVE INCURRED AN EXPENSE FOR DINNER IN THE DINING CAR WHICH, TOGETHER WITH WAITER TIP, WOULD HAVE BEEN THE EQUIVALENT TO THE AMOUNT DISALLOWED, AND IN ADDITION THE AGENT WOULD HAVE LOST TWO HOURS OFFICIAL TIME, WHICH HE DID NOT LOSE BY ARRIVING IN OKLAHOMA CITY AT 3.00 P.M.

AS TO WHETHER ALLOWANCE MAY BE MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRAVEL BY AIRPLANE FROM 12 NOON ON JULY 10, 1930, TO 3 P.M. SAME DAY, TO THE EXTENT OF RAILROAD FARE PLUS PULLMAN BERTH FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN MADE BY RAIL BETWEEN 5.30 P.M. AND 10.05 P.M., IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT WHERE THERE WAS AVAILABLE TRAIN SERVICE LEAVING AT APPROXIMATELY THE SAME TIME WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE REQUIRED THE USE OF A BERTH, THAT THE COST OF A CHAIR ONLY, RATHER THAN PULLMAN BERTH, WOULD BE ALLOWED. SEE A-34777, DATED JANUARY 16, 1931.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE QUESTION OF SUBSISTENCE CHARGES, IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT AN OFFICER ON A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE BASIS, PERFORMING TRAVEL PARTLY BY COMMERCIAL PLANE INSTEAD OF BY RAIL AS AUTHORIZED IN HIS ORDERS, IS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR ONLY THE ACTUAL TIME CONSUMED NOTWITHSTANDING THAT IT WAS LESS THAN IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN BY RAILROAD. SEE A-30018, DATED JUNE 20, 1930. THE SAME PRINCIPLE IS APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS. SEE A-28200, DATED SEPTEMBER 23, 1929.