B-119144, MAY 20, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 563

B-119144: May 20, 1954

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - MILITARY PERSONNEL - HIRE OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCES - REIMBURSEMENT A COAST GUARD MEMBER WHO IS REQUIRED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO A PLACE NOT SERVED BY COMMON CARRIERS UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES NOT PERMITTING TRANSPORTATION BY GOVERNMENT VEHICLE. WHO IS AUTHORIZED BY PROPER ORDERS TO HIRE A SPECIAL CONVEYANCE (TAXICAB. IS NOT A VIOLATION OF THE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE HIRE OF MOTOR PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES CONTAINED IN 5 U.S.C. 78 (A). 1954: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER OF MARCH 3. THE CONDITIONS CONTEMPLATED ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE UNDER WHICH CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ARE AUTHORIZED TO HIRE VEHICLES UNDER PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. 2.

B-119144, MAY 20, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 563

TRAVELING EXPENSES - MILITARY PERSONNEL - HIRE OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCES - REIMBURSEMENT A COAST GUARD MEMBER WHO IS REQUIRED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO A PLACE NOT SERVED BY COMMON CARRIERS UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES NOT PERMITTING TRANSPORTATION BY GOVERNMENT VEHICLE, AND WHO IS AUTHORIZED BY PROPER ORDERS TO HIRE A SPECIAL CONVEYANCE (TAXICAB, U-DRIVE CAR, AIRPLANE, ETC.) TO PERFORM SUCH TRAVEL, MAY BE REIMBURSED UNDER PROVISIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THE HIRING OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCES (E.G., TAXICABS, U-DRIVE CARS, AIRPLANES, ETC.) BY THE COAST GUARD FOR TRANSPORTATION OF COAST GUARD MEMBERS TO PLACES NOT SERVED BY COMMON CARRIER, WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT PERMIT TRANSPORTATION BY GOVERNMENT VEHICLE, IS NOT A VIOLATION OF THE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE HIRE OF MOTOR PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES CONTAINED IN 5 U.S.C. 78 (A), NOTWITHSTANDING ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR COAST GUARD TO HIRE SUCH VEHICLES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, MAY 20, 1954:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER OF MARCH 3, 1954, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, REQUESTING A DECISION ON THREE QUESTIONS AS FOLLOWS:

1. MAY COAST GUARD MILITARY PERSONNEL BE REIMBURSED UNDER THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR THE COST OF HIRING VEHICLES, E.G., TAXICABS, U- DRIVE CARS, AIRPLANES, TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL DESCRIBED ABOVE? THE CONDITIONS CONTEMPLATED ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE UNDER WHICH CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ARE AUTHORIZED TO HIRE VEHICLES UNDER PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

2. IF THE ANSWER TO 1 IS IN THE NEGATIVE, COULD THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS BE AMENDED TO AUTHORIZE SUCH REIMBURSEMENT? IN OTHER WORDS, CAN SECTION 303 (A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT, 37 U.S.C. 253 (A), BE CONSTRUED AS AUTHORIZING SUCH REIMBURSEMENT?

3. IS THE HIRING OF VEHICLES BY THE COAST GUARD FOR TRANSPORTATION OF COAST GUARD MILITARY PERSONNEL UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH HEREOF, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE COAST GUARD TO HIRE SUCH VEHICLES, A VIOLATION OF THE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE HIRE OF MOTOR PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES CONTAINED IN 5 U.S.C. 78 (A/? IN OTHER WORDS, DO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL DECISIONS REPORTED IN 4 COMP. GEN. 836 AND 26 COMP. GEN. 802 APPLY TO THE COAST GUARD INSOFAR AS THE HIRE OF VEHICLES FOR THE USE OF MILITARY PERSONNEL IS CONCERNED.

SECTION 303 (A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 813, PROVIDES THAT UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES SHALL BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL AS THEREIN PROVIDED WITHOUT REGARD TO THE COMPARATIVE COSTS OF THE VARIOUS MODES OF TRANSPORTATION; THAT THE RESPECTIVE SECRETARIES CONCERNED MAY PRESCRIBE THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES SHALL BE AUTHORIZED, NOT TO EXCEED THE AMOUNTS THEREIN AUTHORIZED; AND THAT THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES WHICH SHALL BE AUTHORIZED SHALL BE LIMITED TO (1) TRANSPORTATION IN KIND, REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, OR A MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF COST OF TRANSPORTATION AT A RATE NOT IN EXCESS OF 7 CENTS PER MILE, (2) TRANSPORTATION IN KIND, REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, OR A MONETARY ALLOWANCE NOT IN EXCESS OF 7 CENTS PER MILE, PLUS A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE NOT TO EXCEED $9 PER DAY, OR (3) FOR TRAVEL IN THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE NOT TO EXCEED 10 CENTS PER MILE.

THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE ABOVE SECTION 303 PROVIDE IN PARAGRAPH 4251-1 THAT PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION AND TEMPORARY DUTY TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES WILL BE AS PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPHS 4202 AND 4203, EXCEPT THAT PARAGRAPH 4203-3 (B) WILL NOT APPLY TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TRAVEL, AND THAT OTHER REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES WILL BE ALLOWABLE AS PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 4400. PARAGRAPH 4202-2 PROVIDES THAT TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCLUDE RAILROAD AND STEAMSHIP TICKETS (INCLUDING BERTHS), PULLMAN TICKETS, STREETCAR FARES OR TAXI FARES TO AND FROM THE RAILROAD STATION, WHARF, LANDING FIELD, OR LOCAL TERMINUS OF THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IN KIND AND PARAGRAPH 4203-1 PROVIDES FOR FURNISHING TRANSPORTATION IN KIND AND PARAGRAPH 4203-2 PROVIDES THAT THE TRAVELER MAY ELECT TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ACTUAL COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZED AND ACTUALLY USED WHEN TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO HIM AT THE TIME AND PLACE REQUIRED. PARAGRAPH 4203-3 PROVIDES FOR PAYMENT OF CERTAIN MONETARY ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING, AMONG OTHER THINGS, AN ALLOWANCE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE FOR TRAVEL AT PERSONAL EXPENSE AND AN ALLOWANCE OF 7 CENTS PER MILE FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED CONVEYANCE. PARAGRAPH 4400 PROVIDES FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL AND TEMPORARY DUTY SUCH AS TAXICABS, BUSSES, STREETCAR FARES, ETC.

WHILE THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DO NOT EXPRESSLY PROVIDE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSE OF HIRE OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCES, IT IS CLEAR THAT GENERALLY A MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN REQUIRED TO TRAVEL UNDER CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS OR AWAY FROM HIS STATION ON TEMPORARY DUTY. USUALLY THAT TRANSPORTATION IS PROVIDED BY COMMON CARRIER; HOWEVER, WHERE TRAVEL TO A LOCATION NOT SERVED BY COMMON CARRIER IS REQUIRED AND THE HIRE OF A SPECIAL CONVEYANCE IS AUTHORIZED BY PROPER ORDERS, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO OBJECTION TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR REASONABLE AND PROPER CHARGES FOR THE USE OF SUCH CONVEYANCES. HENCE, YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

IN VIEW OF THE ANSWER TO QUESTION NO. 1, NO ANSWER TO QUESTION NO. 2 IS REQUIRED.

WITH RESPECT TO QUESTION NO. 3, IT WAS HELD IN THE CITED DECISION 26 COMP. GEN. 802, THAT 16 (A) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 810, DOES NOT RESTRICT THE RIGHT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS TO HIRE SPECIAL CONVEYANCES IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THAT DECISION AND 4 COMP. GEN. 836, ALSO MENTIONED IN THAT QUESTION, INVOLVE THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND FOR THAT REASON ARE NOT DIRECTLY APPLICABLE TO MEMBERS OF COAST GUARD GOVERNED BY THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE ANSWER TO QUESTION NO. 1, THE FIRST PART OF QUESTION NO. 3 IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.