B-13538, DECEMBER 16, 1940, 20 COMP. GEN. 315

B-13538: Dec 16, 1940

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ONLY FOR SUCH PART OF THE TAXICAB FARE AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF AN OFFICIAL TRIP. VIRGINIA) FROM UNION STATION BY WAY OF TAXICAB FOR THE USE OF WHICH HE WAS CHARGED AND PAID $1.25. WHICH CITY IS ALSO SHOWN ON THE VOUCHER AS THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION. OFFICIAL STATION IS DEFINED AS THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY WHERE LOCATED ( STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IS 80 CENTS. THIS PARAGRAPH DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY REQUIREMENT THAT THE "PLACE OF ABODE" SHALL BE WITHIN THE OFFICIAL STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH 3 OF THE REGULATIONS. 1922 ( REVIEW NO. 2738) WHICH ALLOWS PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S HOME IN THE SUBURBS TO THE TERMINAL WHEN THE SUBURB IS IN THE ENVIRONS FAIRLY CONTIGUOUS TO THE CITY.

B-13538, DECEMBER 16, 1940, 20 COMP. GEN. 315

TRAVELING EXPENSES - TAXICAB FARES - EMPLOYEES RESIDING OUTSIDE LIMITS OF OFFICIAL STATION AN EMPLOYEE WITH OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WHO RESIDES OUTSIDE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ONLY FOR SUCH PART OF THE TAXICAB FARE AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF AN OFFICIAL TRIP, FROM OR TO, HIS PLACE OF ABODE TO, OR FROM, UNION SQUARE, WASHINGTON, .C., AS EQUALS THE ESTABLISHED MAXIMUM TAXICAB FARES BETWEEN ANY POINT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE UNION STATION BUT SUCH EMPLOYEE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY AIR MAY BE REIMBURSED NOT TO EXCEED THE HIGHER MAXIMUM TAXICAB FARE ESTABLISHED FOR TRIPS BETWEEN POINTS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE WASHINGTON AIRPORT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES MARITIME COMMISSION, DECEMBER 16, 940:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 15, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

INCIDENT TO A TRIP ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE COMMISSION, COMMANDER G. H. EASTON LEFT HIS OFFICE IN THE COMMERCE BUILDING BY WAY OF TAXICAB TO UNION STATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF BOARDING THE TRAIN. AFTER CONCLUDING HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON, HE RETURNED TO HIS HOME (115 NORTH HIGHLAND AVENUE, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA) FROM UNION STATION BY WAY OF TAXICAB FOR THE USE OF WHICH HE WAS CHARGED AND PAID $1.25. THE MARITIME COMMISSION AUDIT UNIT OF YOUR OFFICE HAS STATED EXCEPTION TO REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER NO. 1159789 FOR THE AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF 80 CENTS COVERING THE USE OF TAXICAB BETWEEN UNION STATION AND ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, AS FOLLOWS:

" TRAVEL ORDER NO. W-3619, JANUARY 9, 1940, AUTHORIZES TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., WHICH CITY IS ALSO SHOWN ON THE VOUCHER AS THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION. OFFICIAL STATION IS DEFINED AS THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY WHERE LOCATED ( STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PART. 3). THE MAXIMUM TAXI FARE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., IS 80 CENTS; HENCE THE EXCESS HERE PAID SHOULD BE RECOVERED FROM THE TRAVELER.'

PARAGRAPH 8 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PERMITS 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. THIS PARAGRAPH DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY REQUIREMENT THAT THE "PLACE OF ABODE" SHALL BE WITHIN THE OFFICIAL STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH 3 OF THE REGULATIONS. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH REQUIREMENT, IT WOULD SEEM THAT TAXICAB FARE FROM POINTS IN THE SUBURBS OF WASHINGTON FROM WHICH TRAVELERS WOULD ORDINARILY TAKE A TAXI TO THE UNION STATION COULD BE ALLOWED.

SUCH INTERPRETATION OF PARAGRAPH 8 (A) FINDS SUPPORT IN THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL DATED SEPTEMBER 26, 1922 ( REVIEW NO. 2738) WHICH ALLOWS PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S HOME IN THE SUBURBS TO THE TERMINAL WHEN THE SUBURB IS IN THE ENVIRONS FAIRLY CONTIGUOUS TO THE CITY. IN VIEW OF THIS DECISION IT WOULD APPEAR THAT EXCEPTIONS TO PAYMENT OF ALL TAXI FARES OUTSIDE THE DISTRICT MAY NOW BE JUSTIFIED ONLY ON THE GROUNDS THAT THE DEFINITION OF "OFFICIAL STATION" CONTAINED IN THE PRESENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS MAKES THE CASE CITED NO LONGER APPLICABLE TO SITUATIONS WHERE THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE IS OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS. THIS VIEW, HOWEVER, DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE REQUIRED BY THE LANGUAGE OF THE REGULATIONS THEMSELVES AND WOULD BE UNFAIR TO EMPLOYEES STATIONED IN CITIES WHERE LARGE PORTIONS OF THE RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS ARE OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS. IT IS THEREFORE REQUESTED THAT CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN THIS MATTER, AND THE EXCEPTION STATED BE REMOVED.

PARAGRAPHS 3 AND 8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDE, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

3. OFFICIAL STATION--- POST OF DUTY.--- DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY AND OFFICIAL STATION MEAN ONE AND THE SAME, THE LIMITS OF WHICH WILL BE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS STATIONED, * * *

8. DEFINITION.--- TRANSPORTATION INCLUDES ALL NECESSARY OFFICIAL TRAVEL ON RAILROADS, AIR LINES, STEAMBOATS, STREET CARS, TAXICABS, AND OTHER USUAL MEANS OF CONVEYANCE. * * *

(A) 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. (SEE PAR. 11.)

WHILE, AS YOU STATE, PARAGRAPH 8 (A) OF THE REGULATIONS "DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY REQUIREMENT THAT THE "PLACE OF ABODE" SHALL BE WITHIN THE OFFICIAL STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH 3 OF THE REGULATIONS," SOUND REASONING IMPELS THE VIEW THAT PARAGRAPH 8 (A) MUST BE INTERPRETED AS HAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH PARAGRAPH 3 OF THE REGULATIONS. THAT IS TO SAY, THE "USUAL TAXICAB FARES," WITHIN THE MEANING OF THOSE WORDS AS USED IN PARAGRAPH 8 (A) OF THE REGULATIONS, ARE THOSE ESTABLISHED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY FOR APPLICATION ONLY WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE OFFICIAL STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE. NOTE IN THAT CONNECTION THE WORDS "TAXICABS LOCALLY" APPEARING IN PARAGRAPH 80 (E) OF THE REGULATIONS--- THE WORD "LOCALLY" BEING PARTICULARLY SIGNIFICANT. AN OFFICIAL TRIP IS PRESUMED TO START FROM, AND END AT, THE OFFICIAL STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE, AND THE PURPOSE OF THE REGULATION IS TO REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE ADDITIONAL COST OF TRANSPORTATION NECESSARILY INCURRED, INCLUDING TAXICAB FARES FROM AND TO A POINT--- EITHER HIS HOME OR OFFICE--- WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION, TO AND FROM THE TERMINAL. THE TERMINAL IN THIS CASE IS THE UNION STATION, WASHINGTON, D.C.

AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, THE EMPLOYEE IS PERMITTED TO START HIS OFFICIAL TRIP FROM HIS HOME WHEN IT IS UNNECESSARY FOR HIM FIRST TO REPORT TO HIS OFFICE, BUT THERE IS NO INTENTION MANIFESTED BY THE REGULATION OR OTHERWISE TO REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE EXCESS COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM HIS HOME LOCATED OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR THE DISTANCE TRAVELED OUTSIDE SUCH LIMITS. THIS IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE HE IS REQUIRED TO BEAR, WHETHER REPORTING TO HIS OFFICE, OR WHETHER BEGINNING OR ENDING AN OFFICIAL TRIP AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION. WHEN, AS HERE, AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ELECTS TO RESIDE AT A PLACE BEYOND THE CORPORATE BOUNDARIES OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION AND TO WHICH THE TAXICAB RATES ESTABLISHED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY FOR TRAVEL WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE OFFICIAL STATION ARE NOT APPLICABLE, NO SOUND REASON IS PERCEIVED WHY, BECAUSE OF THAT ELECTION, THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BEAR THE COST OF TRAVEL FROM HIS HOME TO THE LIMITS OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION SIMPLY BECAUSE HE BEGINS AN OFFICIAL TRIP FROM HIS HOME--- SUCH COST IN THE USUAL COURSE OF BUSINESS BEING, AS HEREINBEFORE INDICATED, ONE REQUIRED TO BE BORNE BY HIM WHEN REPORTING TO HIS DUTY STATION AND THUS NOT BEING ONE CONSTITUTING ANY ADDITIONAL BURDEN UPON HIM WHEN HE BEGINS AN OFFICIAL TRIP FROM HOME. IN SUCH CASES THE AMOUNT TO BE REIMBURSED AS TAXICAB FARE CANNOT EXCEED THE MAXIMUM FARE USUALLY AND LAWFULLY CHARGEABLE TO OR FROM A POINT WITHIN THE MUNICIPALITY IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION IS LOCATED.

THE USUAL TAXICAB FARES FROM ANY POINT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO THE UNION STATION HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED BY THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION AT 20, 40, 60, 80 CENTS, DEPENDENT UPON THE NUMBER OF ZONES THROUGH WHICH TRANSPORTATION IS EFFECTED. HENCE, TAXICAB FARES FROM, OR TO, THE HOME OF AN EMPLOYEE TO, OR FROM, UNION STATION, WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY BE REIMBURSED UNDER PARAGRAPH 8 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IN A SUM NOT TO EXCEED THE MAXIMUM TAXI FARE OF 80 CENTS FOR A TRIP TO, OR FROM, THE UNION STATION.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT HIGHER TAXICAB FARES HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED FOR TRIPS BETWEEN POINTS WITHIN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE WASHINGTON AIRPORT, THE MAXIMUM OF WHICH WOULD BE REIMBURSABLE TO AN EMPLOYEE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY AIR IF ACTUALLY INCURRED IN TRAVELING FROM, OR TO, HIS HOME BEYOND THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO, OR FROM, THE TERMINAL--- WASHINGTON AIRPORT.

BECAUSE OF THE DEFINITION OF "OFFICIAL STATION" CONTAINED IN THE PRESENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND OF OTHER CONSIDERATIONS HEREINABOVE STATED, THE DECISION OF THE FORMER COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, DATED SEPTEMBER 26, 1922, REVIEW NO. 2738, TO WHICH YOU REFER, IS, AS SUGGESTED IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, NO LONGER APPLICABLE TO SITUATIONS, WHERE THE HOME OF THE EMPLOYEE IS OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE AUDIT ACTION TAKEN IN THIS CASE WAS CORRECT, AND THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD BE REQUESTED TO REFUND PROMPTLY THE EXCESS TAXICAB FARES HERE INVOLVED, NAMELY, 45 CENTS ($1.25 LESS 80 CENTS).