B-148139, APR. 5, 1962

B-148139: Apr 5, 1962

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IN WHICH EXCEPTIONS ARE TAKEN TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR MILEAGE IN EXCESS OF RAND-MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE. ALTHOUGH THE USE OF THE ROUTE TAKEN WAS ALLEGEDLY APPROVED BY THE AUTHORIZING OFFICIAL. TRAVEL BY OTHER ROUTES MAY BE ALLOWED WHEN THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY THEREFOR IS SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED. * * *" SECTION 3.5 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES. IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS: "* * * WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES OR AUTOMOBILES. GEN. 438: "A REASONABLE INTERPRETATION OF THE ABOVE-CITED LAW AND REGULATIONS WOULD ENTITLE A TRAVELER TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TOLL CHARGES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL ON A TOLL HIGHWAY PROVIDED SUCH TOLL HIGHWAY IS A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED.

B-148139, APR. 5, 1962

TO LT.COL. F. C. ROBERTSON, DISBURSING OFFICER:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 12, 1961, TRANSMITS FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION A SUPPLEMENTAL TRAVEL VOUCHER SUBMITTED TO YOU BY CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE CLYDE E. KELLER FOR $12.16, REPRESENTING AN AGENCY AUDIT DISALLOWANCE ON AN ORIGINAL VOUCHER FOR MILEAGE IN EXCESS OF STANDARD HIGHWAY GUIDE DISTANCES RESULTING FROM THE USE OF TURNPIKE ROUTES BETWEEN MIDDLETOWN, PENNSYLVANIA, AND LORING AIR FORCE BASE, MAINE.

YOU CITE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE NOTICES OF EXCEPTION NOS. R 104208, R- 104209 AND R-104690 (DISBURSING OFFICER F. C. ROBERTSON, 5035), DATED 3/16/61, 3/16/61, AND 4/14/61, IN WHICH EXCEPTIONS ARE TAKEN TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR MILEAGE IN EXCESS OF RAND-MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE, ALTHOUGH THE USE OF THE ROUTE TAKEN WAS ALLEGEDLY APPROVED BY THE AUTHORIZING OFFICIAL.

YOU ASK FOR A DETERMINATION OF THE VALIDITY OF THE SUPPLEMENTAL CLAIM AS WELL AS A REAFFIRMING OR RESCINDING OF THE THREE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE NOTICES OF EXCEPTION.

SECTION 3.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"ROUTING OF TRAVEL.--- ALL TRAVEL MUST BE BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. TRAVEL BY OTHER ROUTES MAY BE ALLOWED WHEN THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY THEREFOR IS SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED. * * *"

SECTION 3.5 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES OR AUTOMOBILES, DISTANCES BETWEEN POINTS TRAVELED SHALL BE AS SHOWN IN STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDES OR BY SPEEDOMETER READINGS. ANY SUBSTANTIAL DEVIATIONS FROM DISTANCES SHOWN IN THE STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDES SHALL BE EXPLAINED. * * *"

WE DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH FROM 32 COMP. GEN. 438:

"A REASONABLE INTERPRETATION OF THE ABOVE-CITED LAW AND REGULATIONS WOULD ENTITLE A TRAVELER TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TOLL CHARGES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL ON A TOLL HIGHWAY PROVIDED SUCH TOLL HIGHWAY IS A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED. HOWEVER, BETWEEN TWO POINTS OF TRAVEL THERE MAY BE MORE THAN ONE HIGHWAY THAT FALLS WITHIN THE CATEGORY OF A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE AND ONE OF THE ROUTES MAY BE A FREE HIGHWAY WHILE THE OTHER IS A TOLL ROAD. IN SUCH INSTANCES, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT OF COSTS INCURRED BY THE TRAVELER IN USING THE TOLL ROAD WHERE THERE IS A SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL, BY AN OFFICIAL HAVING AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE THE TRAVEL, OF THE ROUTE UTILIZED. IN SUCH CASES IT WILL BE ASSUMED THAT THERE HAS BEEN AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE TOLL ROAD IS A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE OR, IF NOT, THAT THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY FOR ITS USE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 9 ABOVE. SUCH DETERMINATION WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE UNLESS CLEARLY UNREASONABLE. * * *"

THE CLAIMANT'S TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION INCLUDES SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION FOR THE USE OF TOLL ROADS. THEREFORE, THE SUPPLEMENTAL VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED TOGETHER WITH RELATED PAPERS, MAY BE PAID IF OTHERWISE PROPER.

THE CITED EXCEPTIONS COVERING EXCESS MILEAGE BECAUSE OF THE USE OF TOLL ROADS AND TURNPIKES SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN RAISED INASMUCH AS TRAVEL BY THE ROUTES USED HAD BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED AS CONTEMPLATED BY OUR DECISION IN 32 COMP. GEN. 438.