B-135106, MAR. 5, 1958

B-135106: Mar 5, 1958

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HICKS WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM KENNEWICK TO ALBUQUERQUE AND RETURN. THE EMPLOYEE IS CLAIMING CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF RAIL TRAVEL PLUS CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM APPLICABLE TO THAT MODE OF TRAVEL. NO ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY OR REGULATIONS ARE CITED BY YOU RESTRICTING THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS TO THE MODE OF COMMON CARRIER (RAIL. AIR) WHICH IS THE LEAST EXPENSIVE. HICKS WAS AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION ON A MILEAGE BASIS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT NOT TO EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST BY COMMON CARRIER. INASMUCH AS EXPRESS AUTHORITY WAS GRANTED MR. IT MAY BE PRESUMED THAT THE LIMITATION ON MILEAGE TO AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COMMON CARRIER COST WAS INTENDED TO MEAN THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL BY ANY ONE OF THE COMMON CARRIERS AUTHORIZED TO BE UTILIZED AND THAT.

B-135106, MAR. 5, 1958

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, HANFORD OPERATIONS OFFICE:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 28, 1958, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE PAC:PAC, REQUEST OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER, UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER SET FORTH, THE VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF MR. H. GERALD HICKS, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION, FOR MILEAGE AND PER DIEM INCIDENT TO OFFICIAL TRAVEL FROM KENNEWICK, WASHINGTON, TO ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, AND RETURN, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

BY ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION, MR. HICKS WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM KENNEWICK TO ALBUQUERQUE AND RETURN, BEGINNING ON OR ABOUT OCTOBER 12, 1957, AND ENDING ON OR ABOUT OCTOBER 21, 1957. THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AUTHORIZED A PER DIEM OF $12 AND TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS OF SEVEN CENTS PER MILE, BUT NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER.

THE EMPLOYEE IS CLAIMING CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF RAIL TRAVEL PLUS CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM APPLICABLE TO THAT MODE OF TRAVEL, WHICH EXCEEDS BY $59.80 THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF PER DIEM AND AIR TRAVEL.

YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER ARISES FROM THE FACT THAT IN FIVE PREVIOUS TRIPS IN THE LAST YEAR BY THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS HE HAS USED AIR TRAVEL INCLUDING ONE TRIP TO ALBUQUERQUE BY AIR. YOUR CONTENTION APPEARS TO BE THAT IN COMPUTING THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF THE TRAVEL OF THE EMPLOYEE IN THIS CASE THERE SHOULD BE USED THE CONSTRUCTIVE AIR TRAVEL AND THE APPLICABLE PER DIEM WHICH WOULD BE CHEAPER THAN CONSTRUCTIVE RAIL TRAVEL AND APPLICABLE PER DIEM. NO ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY OR REGULATIONS ARE CITED BY YOU RESTRICTING THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS TO THE MODE OF COMMON CARRIER (RAIL, BUS, AIR) WHICH IS THE LEAST EXPENSIVE.

UNDER THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY ISSUED IN THIS CASE MR. HICKS WAS AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION ON A MILEAGE BASIS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT NOT TO EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST BY COMMON CARRIER, WHICH INCLUDES ALL THE NECESSARY OFFICIAL TRAVEL ON RAILROADS, AIRLINES, ETC., AS TABULATED IN PARAGRAPH 3.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

INASMUCH AS EXPRESS AUTHORITY WAS GRANTED MR. HICKS IN THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS NOT TO EXCEED THE COST BY COMMON CARRIER, IT MAY BE PRESUMED THAT THE LIMITATION ON MILEAGE TO AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COMMON CARRIER COST WAS INTENDED TO MEAN THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL BY ANY ONE OF THE COMMON CARRIERS AUTHORIZED TO BE UTILIZED AND THAT, IF IT HAD BEEN INTENDED ADMINISTRATIVELY TO LIMIT MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL BY AIR, APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE WOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION TO THAT EFFECT. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING COMMENTS, THE CONCLUSION IS WARRANTED THAT, SINCE THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL BY RAIL PLUS APPLICABLE PER DIEM IS LESS THAN MILEAGE PLUS APPLICABLE PER DIEM, THE AMOUNT REPRESENTING CONSTRUCTIVE RAIL TRAVEL PLUS APPLICABLE PER DIEM IS DUE THE EMPLOYEE.

THEREFORE, THE VOUCHER, WHICH TOGETHER WITH THE RELATED PAPERS, IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.