B-149599, SEPTEMBER 28, 1962, 42 COMP. GEN. 181

B-149599: Sep 28, 1962

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EVEN THOUGH THE TERM "STORAGE CHARGES" FOR PARKING AUTOMOBILES IN GARAGES OR COMMERCIAL FACILITIES IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH "PARKING FEES. " IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE GARAGE WAS USED ON AN "IN AND OUT" BASIS WITH CHARGES MADE ONLY FOR THE TIME THAT THE FACILITIES WERE USED PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED. M. WEBER WHICH AMOUNT WAS DISALLOWED ADMINISTRATIVELY ON A PREVIOUS VOUCHER NO. 2646. WEBER WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN PERFORMING AUDITS OF FIELD FINANCE OFFICES AND CONCESSION OPERATIONS. THE COPY OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION SHOWS THAT TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT. ALTHOUGH GARAGE PARKING WAS A 24-HOUR SERVICE.

B-149599, SEPTEMBER 28, 1962, 42 COMP. GEN. 181

FEES - PARKING - PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES - GARAGES, ETC. CHARGES INCURRED BY AN ITINERANT CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE FOR PARKING A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN A GARAGE BECAUSE OF LIMITED PARKING ON PUBLIC STREETS AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION UNDER TRAVEL ORDERS WHICH AUTHORIZED THE USE OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS AS BEING ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT MAY BE CONSIDERED REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE AMENDMENT TO SECTION 4 OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1961, 5 U.S.C. 837, WHICH ADDED THE TERM ,PARKING FEES" TO THE ITEMS WHICH MAY BE REIMBURSED SINCE THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE AMENDMENT DOES NOT INDICATE ANY INTENT TO RESTRICT FEES TO DAYTIME PARKING OR OTHERWISE LIMIT THE COST OR TIME; THEREFORE, EVEN THOUGH THE TERM "STORAGE CHARGES" FOR PARKING AUTOMOBILES IN GARAGES OR COMMERCIAL FACILITIES IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH "PARKING FEES," IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE GARAGE WAS USED ON AN "IN AND OUT" BASIS WITH CHARGES MADE ONLY FOR THE TIME THAT THE FACILITIES WERE USED PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED.

TO EDWARD G. BEAGLE, JR., DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, SEPTEMBER 28, 1962:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 27, 1962, FILE F5023-AFB, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY THE ENCLOSED RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR $20 IN FAVOR OF MR. E. C. M. WEBER WHICH AMOUNT WAS DISALLOWED ADMINISTRATIVELY ON A PREVIOUS VOUCHER NO. 2646, A COPY OF WHICH YOU FURNISHED US ON SEPTEMBER 6, 1962.

AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, OFFICE OF AUDITS, MR. WEBER WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN PERFORMING AUDITS OF FIELD FINANCE OFFICES AND CONCESSION OPERATIONS. YOU SAY, THAT TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 356, DATED DECEMBER 18, 1961, AND OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATIONS--- APPARENTLY INCLUDING THE CORRESPONDENCE AND FO 17-61 WHICH CLAIMANT CITES ON HIS VOUCHER--- DID NOT RESTRICT THE ALLOWANCE OF PARKING FEES. THE COPY OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION SHOWS THAT TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT.

THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER NO. 2646 LISTING MR. WEBER'S AUDIT ACTIVITIES AND TRAVEL ITINERARY DAILY FOR THE MONTH OF MAY 1962 SHOWS THAT HIS DUTY IN BUTTE, MONTANA, REQUIRED HIM TO STAY THERE ONLY 16 WHOLE DAYS AND 7 HALF- DAYS DURING THAT MONTH. ON HIS RECLAIM VOUCHER THE EMPLOYEE SAYS THAT ,ALTHOUGH GARAGE PARKING WAS A 24-HOUR SERVICE, THE PARKING WAS NECESSARY DURING WORKING HOURS BECAUSE PARKING IN BUTTE IS LIMITED TO ONE HOUR DURING THAT TIME.' THE RECEIPTED BILL HE FURNISHES SHOWS "STORAGE FOR MAY $20," WHEREAS HIS ITINERARY SHOWS HE PERFORMED DUTY AND TRAVEL INVOLVING MORE THAN 10 DAYS DURING MAY 1962 AT VARIOUS POINTS AWAY FROM BUTTE AND ITS IMMEDIATE VICINITY.

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 27 EXPRESSES DOUBT WHETHER THE "STORAGE CHARGES" HERE INVOLVED ARE SYNONYMOUS WITH THE "PARKING FEES" WHICH ARE ALLOWABLE UNDER THE REGULATION QUOTED BELOW, AND ASKS, IF THOSE WORDS ARE NOT SYNONYMOUS, WHETHER REIMBURSEMENT OF THE INSTANT CLAIM MAY BE MADE UNDER THE PROVISION OF THE QUOTED REGULATION.

AS AUTHORITY FOR THE CHARGE AND HIS CLAIM OF $20, MR. WEBER CITES SECTION 3.5B OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE CORRESPONDENCE MENTIONED ABOVE. SECTION 3.5B (1) AUTHORIZES "REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF AUTOMOBILE PARKING FEES * * * UNLESS THE TRAVEL ORDER OR OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION RESTRICTS THEIR ALLOWANCE.'

WE HAVE CAREFULLY CONSIDERED THE MATTER IN THE LIGHT OF ACCEPTED DEFINITIONS OF THE WORDS "PARK (PARKING) " AND "STORE (STORING; STORAGE).' WEBSTER'S NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY DEFINES THE TRANSITIVE VERB "PARK" AS "TO LEAVE TEMPORARILY ON A PUBLIC WAY OR IN AN OPEN SPACE ASSIGNED FOR THE OCCUPANCY OF A NUMBER OF AUTOMOBILES.' ALSO, WE MAY REGARD A GARAGE OR OTHER COVERED SPACE AS USABLE FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, NAMELY, A TEMPORARY OR INTERMITTENT USE OF SUCH SPACE FOR SHORT PERIODS OF TIME, DAILY OR HOURLY, BECAUSE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL AND BUSINESS STOPS IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA.

THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1961, PUBLIC LAW 87-139, 75 STAT. 340, 5 U.S.C. 837, FROM WHICH THE QUOTED REGULATION IS DERIVED, MAY BE SAID TO HAVE PRIMARILY CONCERNED USE OF AUTOMOBILES TO TRAVEL TO PLACES OF DUTY LOCATED IN CONGESTED AREAS OF CITIES WHICH HAVE LIMITED THE PARKING TIME ALLOWABLE ON PUBLIC STREETS IN THE VICINITY OF THE DUTY POINTS AND WHERE IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO FIND FREE PARKING SPACE WITHIN REASONABLE WALKING DISTANCE OF THE DUTY POINTS. SOME OF THE LEGISLATIVE DISCUSSIONS OF THE PROVISION ALSO REFERRED TO OVERNIGHT PARKING DIFFICULTIES AND COSTS. THUS, AS THE AUTHORIZED FEES WERE NOT RESTRICTED TO DAYTIME PARKING AND OTHERWISE WERE NOT LIMITED AS TO THE AMOUNT OF COST OR TIME ALLOWABLE--- EITHER IN THE ACT, THE REGULATION, OR IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER IN THIS CASE--- IT COULD BE SAID THAT THE AUTHORITY IN THE ACT COVERS SITUATIONS WHERE A TRAVELER MUST USE A GARAGE OR OTHER COMMERCIAL FACILITY ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS INCLUDING HOURS OUTSIDE NORMAL WORKDAYS AS TO PLACE TO RELIEVE THE LOCAL PARKING PROBLEM AT THE DUTY POINT OR PLACE OF LODGINGS, OR THEIR IMMEDIATE VICINITIES. SUCH SITUATIONS, HOWEVER, ARE NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH CLEAR CASES OF STORAGE, OR CASES WHERE, ON A MILEAGE BASIS, AN AUTOMOBILE (INCLUDING PARKING) IS USED IN LIEU OF TAXICABS TO GO TO AND FROM TERMINALS, AIRPORTS, RAILROAD STATIONS, ETC., AT WHICH POINTS NO DUTY OTHER THAN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED, AND FROM WHICH POINTS THE TRAVELER MERELY PERFORMS FURTHER TRAVEL TO OTHER POINTS OR DUTY ASSIGNMENTS.

AS TO YOUR EXPRESS QUESTIONS, IT APPEARS THAT "PARKING FEES" AND "STORAGE CHARGES" ARE NOT SYNONYMOUS. HOWEVER, IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY FOUND AS A FACT THAT THE GARAGE IN THIS CASE WAS USED AS A NECESSARY PARKING PLACE ON AN "IN AND OUT" BASIS WITH CHARGES MADE AT A DAILY RATE OF $1 ONLY FOR THE ACTUAL DAYS AND TIME THAT SUCH PARKING SERVICE WAS USED, AS YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 6 SUGGESTS, THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.