Authorization for the Alaska Railroad's Arrangement for the Construction of a Railroad Spur

A-5894: Dec 3, 1924

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The Department of the Interior asked GAO for a decision as to whether the Alaska Railroad is authorized to enter into an arrangement for the construction of a railroad spur of a little over two miles in length. The spur would connect with the main line of the road and the coal mine of the Howard-Jesson Company. The decision was requested because of the doubt which existed as to the authority by reason of the contemplated plan of payment of the construction costs.

GAO found that the construction of the spur is for administrative consideration only as for work to be done under a Government appropriation. If the administrative authorities are not prepared to enter upon such construction, there is no authority from the standpoint of obligating of appropriations to agree that others shall construct and according to results reimbursement be made to those who constructed. The obligating of appropriations can not be so authorized, but must be definite and certain, and the decision is accordingly.