A-58249, NOVEMBER 6, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 367

A-58249: Nov 6, 1934

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THE QUESTION WHETHER A VEHICLE IS "PASSENGER-CARRYING" MUST BE DETERMINED FROM THE CHARACTER OF THE VEHICLE AS SHOWN BY ITS CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS NEED IN THE TENTH REGIMENT (ARTILLERY) OF THE FLEET MARINE FORCE. EXTENSIVE TESTS IN THE ARMY HAVE INDICATED THAT THE STANDARD FORD STATION WAGON IS A VERY DESIRABLE VEHICLE FOR THIS PURPOSE AND FOR GENERAL ARTILLERY SERVICE. STATION WAGONS OF THIS GENERAL TYPE ARE LIGHTER THAN THE ONE-TON TRUCKS NOW USED FOR RECONNAISSANCE PURPOSES. IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THESE VEHICLES ARE REQUIRED JUSTIFIES THEIR CLASSIFICATION AS COMBAT VEHICLES FOR RECONNAISSANCE AND COMMUNICATION WORK RATHER THAN AS PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES.

A-58249, NOVEMBER 6, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 367

PURCHASE OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914 (38 STAT. 508), PROHIBITING THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES UNDER APPROPRIATIONS NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDING THEREFOR, THE QUESTION WHETHER A VEHICLE IS "PASSENGER-CARRYING" MUST BE DETERMINED FROM THE CHARACTER OF THE VEHICLE AS SHOWN BY ITS CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN, AND NOT FROM THE INTENDED USE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, NOVEMBER 6, 1934:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS NEED IN THE TENTH REGIMENT (ARTILLERY) OF THE FLEET MARINE FORCE, U.S. MARINE CORPS, FOR A NUMBER OF MOTOR VEHICLES OF LIGHT TYPE FOR USE IN RECONNAISSANCE AND COMMUNICATION WORK. EXTENSIVE TESTS IN THE ARMY HAVE INDICATED THAT THE STANDARD FORD STATION WAGON IS A VERY DESIRABLE VEHICLE FOR THIS PURPOSE AND FOR GENERAL ARTILLERY SERVICE, AND A VEHICLE OF THIS TYPE RECENTLY USED BY BATTERY C OF THE TENTH REGIMENT WHILE AT FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA, PROVED ENTIRELY SATISFACTORY.

STATION WAGONS OF THIS GENERAL TYPE ARE LIGHTER THAN THE ONE-TON TRUCKS NOW USED FOR RECONNAISSANCE PURPOSES, AND, THEREFORE, MUCH MORE SUITABLE FOR USE IN LANDING OPERATIONS SUCH AS MAY BE REQUIRED OF THE FLEET MARINE FORCE. IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THESE VEHICLES ARE REQUIRED JUSTIFIES THEIR CLASSIFICATION AS COMBAT VEHICLES FOR RECONNAISSANCE AND COMMUNICATION WORK RATHER THAN AS PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES.

SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914 (38 STAT. 508, TITLE 5, U.S. CODE, SEC. 78), PROHIBITS THE USE OF ANY APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURCHASE OF MOTOR -PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES FOR ANY BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE UNLESS THE PURCHASE IS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW. NO SUCH AUTHORIZATION IS CONTAINED IN THE CURRENT NAVAL APPROPRIATION ACT APPROVED MARCH 15, 1934 (PUBLIC, NO. 122, 73D CONGRESS), UNDER THE APPROPRIATION GENERAL EXPENSES, MARINE CORPS, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE ADEQUATE FUNDS UNDER SAID APPROPRIATION TO PERMIT THE PURCHASE OF THE NUMBER OF STATION WAGONS NOW DESIRED IF SUCH EXPENDITURE IS AUTHORIZED.

IN A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, DATED MAY 27, 1921 (27 COMP. DEC. 1016), IT WAS HELD THAT THE LIMITATION IMPOSED BY SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, ABOVE MENTIONED, RELATIVE TO THE PURCHASE OF PUBLIC VEHICLES "APPLIES ONLY TO THE PURCHASE OF VEHICLES PRIMARILY USED FOR CARRYING PASSENGERS AND NOT TO THE PURCHASE OF VEHICLES PRIMARILY USED FOR SOME OTHER PURPOSE, SUCH AS A FREIGHT TRUCK.' THIS DECISION WAS FOLLOWED IN A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF MAY 27, 1924 (3 COMP. GEN. 901), WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE WERE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF AUTOMOBILES FOR USE BY FIELD STATIONS OF THE WEATHER BUREAU WHERE THE PRIMARY PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE VEHICLES WERE TO BE USED WAS TO HAUL SUPPLIES.

THE ABOVE DECISIONS WOULD APPEAR TO PERMIT THE USE OF THE MARINE CORPS APPROPRIATION MENTIONED FOR THE PURPOSE DESIRED AS THE VEHICLES ARE NOT TO BE USED PRIMARILY FOR CARRYING PASSENGERS BUT FOR RECONNAISSANCE AND COMMUNICATION WORK FOR WHICH WORK THEY HAVE BEEN FOUND IN ACTUAL PRACTICE TO BE MORE SATISFACTORY THAN THE ONE-TON TRUCKS NOW EMPLOYED THEREFOR.

IN ORDER THAT NO QUESTION MAY BE RAISED AS TO THE EXPENDITURE OF THE FUNDS IN THE MANNER PROPOSED, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER STATION WAGONS MAY LEGALLY BE PURCHASED FROM THE APPROPRIATION "GENERAL EXPENSES, MARINE CORPS 1935.'

THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508, PROHIBITS THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES UNDER APPROPRIATIONS NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDING THEREFOR, AND THE QUESTION WHETHER A VEHICLE IS ,PASSENGER CARRYING" MUST BE DETERMINED FROM THE CHARACTER OF THE VEHICLE AS SHOWN BY ITS CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN, AND NOT FROM THE INTENDED USE. SEE 21 COMP. DEC. 116. IN THE TWO DECISIONS CITED BY YOU QUESTION WERE DESIGNED, CONSTRUCTED, AND EQUIPPED PRIMARILY FOR FREIGHT AND EQUIPMENT CARRYING. IN THE PRESENT MATTER THE VEHICLE IN QUESTION IS DESCRIBED BY THE MANUFACTURER AS A PASSENGER CAR AND BUS, BAGGAGE AND EQUIPMENT CARRIER, CAMP CAR AND DELIVERY WAGON. IT IS FURTHER DESCRIBED AS HAVING SEATS FOR EIGHT, INCLUDING THE DRIVER, WITH REAR AND CENTER SEATS REMOVABLE. THE STATION WAGON IS MOUNTED ON A 112 INCH CHASSIS, SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME AS THE PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLE CHASSIS, AND THE COMPLETE UNIT WAS DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED PRIMARILY FOR USE IN PASSENGER CARRYING. THE FACT THAT THIS TYPE OF VEHICLE IS MORE SUITABLE FOR USE IN LANDING OPERATIONS AND FOR RECONNAISSANCE AND COMMUNICATION WORK WOULD NOT JUSTIFY THEIR PURCHASE UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "GENERAL EXPENSES, MARINE CORPS" WHICH DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE SUCH PURCHASES OR THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER CARRYING VEHICLES. ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THE APPROPRIATION CITED IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE STATION WAGONS.