B-134752, FEB. 3, 1958

B-134752: Feb 3, 1958

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MOESSNER'S OFFICIAL STATION AND ALSO HIS RESIDENCE IS LOCATED IN OGDEN AND THAT. IS AS FOLLOWS: "IN LIEU OF THE USE OF A TAXICAB UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3.1B. PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE WILL BE ALLOWED FOR THE ROUND-TRIP MILEAGE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE USED IN CONNECTION WITH AN EMPLOYEE GOING FROM HIS PLACE OF ABODE TO A COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL OR FROM A COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL TO HIS PLACE OF ABODE: PROVIDED. OR OTHER TERMINAL WILL BE ALLOWED. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SUBSECTION THE TERM "PLACE OF ABODE" MAY BE CONSTRUED TO INCLUDE ANY POINT WITHIN REASONABLE DISTANCE FROM WHICH THE EMPLOYEES CONCERNED COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL POST OF DUTY. * * TAXICAB FARES AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 3.1 (B) AND MILEAGE AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 3.5B (1) ARE ALLOWABLE.

B-134752, FEB. 3, 1958

TO MR. J. T. O-NEILL, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOREST SERVICE BUILDING:

ON DECEMBER 24, 1957, YOU SUBMITTED FOR OUR ADVANCE DECISION THE PROPRIETY OF YOUR CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT TRAVEL VOUCHER OF KARL E. MOESSNER IN THE AMOUNT OF $14.80, REPRESENTING MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF $0.10 PER MILE FOR TWO ROUND TRIPS BETWEEN HIS RESIDENCE AT OGDEN, UTAH, AND SALT LAKE AIRPORT IN LIEU OF THE USE OF TAXI UNDER PARAGRAPH 3.5B (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

FROM THE FACTS PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER, IT APPEARS THAT MR. MOESSNER'S OFFICIAL STATION AND ALSO HIS RESIDENCE IS LOCATED IN OGDEN AND THAT, ALTHOUGH OGDEN HAS AN AIRPORT, MANY OF THE FLIGHTS IN AND OUT OF THE SALT LAKE CITY-OGDEN AREA LAND ONLY AT THE SALT LAKE AIRPORT, 37 MILES SOUTH OF OGDEN. YOU SAY THAT OGDEN TRAVELERS USUALLY TRAVEL TO AND FROM SALT LAKE AIRPORT BY COMBINATION OF TAXI AND COMMON CARRIER, LIMOUSINE SERVICE OR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. IN THIS CASE INVOLVING TRAVEL TO VARIOUS POINTS IN NEW MEXICO, COLORADO, AND SOUTH DAKOTA, A MEMBER OF MR. MOESSNER'S FAMILY ACCOMPANIED HIM IN HIS PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE FROM OGDEN TO SALT LAKE AIRPORT, RETURNED THE VEHICLE TO HIS RESIDENCE, AND THEN FERRIED THE VEHICLE TO SALT LAKE AIRPORT TO PROVIDE HIM TRANSPORTATION TO HIS RESIDENCE UPON HIS RETURN.

THE PERTINENT PORTION OF PARAGRAPH 3.5B (1), STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IS AS FOLLOWS:

"IN LIEU OF THE USE OF A TAXICAB UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3.1B, PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE WILL BE ALLOWED FOR THE ROUND-TRIP MILEAGE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE USED IN CONNECTION WITH AN EMPLOYEE GOING FROM HIS PLACE OF ABODE TO A COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL OR FROM A COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL TO HIS PLACE OF ABODE: PROVIDED, THAT THE AMOUNT OF REIMBURSEMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE USUAL TAXICAB FARE, INCLUDING ALLOWABLE TIP, FOR A ONE-WAY TRIP FROM HIS PLACE OF ABODE TO TERMINAL OR FROM TERMINAL TO HIS PLACE OF ABODE.'

PARAGRAPH 3.1 (B) READS IN PART:

"B. THE USUAL TAXICAB FARES FROM STATION, WHARF, OR OTHER TERMINAL TO EITHER PLACE OF ABODE OR PLACE OF BUSINESS AND FROM EITHER PLACE OF ABODE OR PLACE OF BUSINESS TO STATION, WHARF, OR OTHER TERMINAL WILL BE ALLOWED. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SUBSECTION THE TERM "PLACE OF ABODE" MAY BE CONSTRUED TO INCLUDE ANY POINT WITHIN REASONABLE DISTANCE FROM WHICH THE EMPLOYEES CONCERNED COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL POST OF DUTY. * *

TAXICAB FARES AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 3.1 (B) AND MILEAGE AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 3.5B (1) ARE ALLOWABLE, WHEN PROPER, WITHOUT THE NECESSITY OF BEING EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED IN TRAVEL ORDERS. HOWEVER, THESE PARAGRAPHS REASONABLY MUST BE CONSTRUED TO APPLY ONLY TO THE "TERMINAL" AT WHICH THE TRIP BEGINS OR ENDS. IN MR. MOESSNER'S CASE, THE BEN LOMOND HOTEL, OGDEN, UTAH--- THE TERMINAL OF LIMOUSINE SERVICE TO SALT LAKE AIRPORT--- MUST BE REGARDED AS THE TERMINAL, AS THAT TERM IS USED WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTIONS 3.5B (1) AND 3.1 (B) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THEREFORE, WE FIND NO BASIS FOR ALLOWING THE MILEAGE CLAIMED UNDER SECTION 3.5B (1) OF THE REGULATION.

TRAVEL ORDER NO. 20-W-50, DATED JULY 1, 1957, UNDER WHICH MR. MOESSNER'S TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED, PROVIDES UNDER PARAGRAPH 13 (A) THAT $0.08 A MILE WILL BE ALLOWED FOR MILEAGE TO SALT LAKE AIRPORT AND FROM SALT LAKE AIRPORT TO OFFICIAL STATION ONLY. SINCE THIS PROVISION, IN THE ABSENCE OF A CONTROLLING REGULATION, HAS THE EFFECT OF LIMITING THE RATE WHICH MAY BE PAID FOR MILEAGE BETWEEN OGDEN, THE BEGINNING AND ENDING POINT OF TRAVEL, AND SALT LAKE AIRPORT, NO OBJECTION WILL BE INTERPOSED TO THE ALLOWANCE OF MILEAGE AT THAT RATE FOR ONE ROUND TRIP BETWEEN OGDEN AND THE SALE LAKE AIRPORT. WE FIND, THEREFORE, THAT THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT OF THE FULL AMOUNT CLAIMED BUT ONLY FOR THE AMOUNT FOUND DUE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.

YOUR QUESTION OF WHETHER, IF A TRAVEL ORDER CONTAINED NO MILEAGE PROVISION, REIMBURSEMENT SHOULD BE LIMITED TO THE LOWEST CONSTRUCTIVE COST BY "PUBLIC CARRIER" MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AUTHORITATIVELY HERE SINCE IT IS HYPOTHETICAL IN NATURE AND IS NOT INVOLVED IN THE DECISION ON THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED.