B-151100, MAY 23, 1963

B-151100: May 23, 1963

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MAJOR MAY WAS RELIEVED FROM ASSIGNMENT AT THAT STATION AND ASSIGNED ON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO THE 376TH AIR REFUELING SQUADRON (SAC). THE OFFICER WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WAS PERFORMED TO ERNEST HARMON AIR FORCE BASE. FOR WHICH THE OFFICER WAS REIMBURSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 4159-3 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE. THE FACTS IN THIS CASE ARE COMPARABLE TO THOSE IN THE DECISION TO YOU DATED APRIL 3. OR BETWEEN POINTS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES WILL BE ENTITLED TO THE ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 4150 (MILEAGE AT SIX CENTS A MILE OR TRANSPORTATION IN KIND AND A PER DIEM).

B-151100, MAY 23, 1963

TO MAJOR S. B. BUSH, JR.:

BY FIRST INDORSEMENT DATED MARCH 18, 1963, THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE FORWARDED YOUR LETTER DATED DECEMBER 12, 1962, AND ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING PAYMENT TO MAJOR CLAUDE D. MAY, JR., A0708730, AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR FERRY FARES FOR HIMSELF AND HIS AUTOMOBILE FOR TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN NORTH SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA, AND PORT-AUX-BASQUES, NEWFOUNDLAND, INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE, NEW JERSEY, TO ERNEST HARMON AIR FORCE BASE, NEWFOUNDLAND. YOUR REQUEST HAS BEEN ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 63 5.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT BY PARAGRAPH 1, SPECIAL ORDER A-72, 305TH AIR REFUELING SQUADRON (SAC), USAF, MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE, NEW JERSEY, DATED AUGUST 29, 1962, MAJOR MAY WAS RELIEVED FROM ASSIGNMENT AT THAT STATION AND ASSIGNED ON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO THE 376TH AIR REFUELING SQUADRON (SAC), APO 864, NEW YORK, NEW YORK. THE OFFICER WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, AND THE ORDERS PROVIDED FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR FERRY TOLLS IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 4405 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WAS PERFORMED TO ERNEST HARMON AIR FORCE BASE, NEWFOUNDLAND, FOR WHICH THE OFFICER WAS REIMBURSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 4159-3 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE. HE NOW CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE FERRY FARES FOR HIMSELF AND HIS AUTOMOBILE AND THE COST OF CABIN FOR HIMSELF COVERING THE FERRY TRIP BETWEEN NORTH SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA, AND PORT AUX-BASQUES, NEWFOUNDLAND, EN ROUTE TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION. THE FACTS IN THIS CASE ARE COMPARABLE TO THOSE IN THE DECISION TO YOU DATED APRIL 3, 1962, B-148316, 41 COMP. GEN. 637, EXCEPT THAT HERE THE ORDERS OF THE MEMBER CONTAIN A PROVISION FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF FERRY TOLLS UNDER PARAGRAPH 4405 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE PERTINENT STATUTE, 37 U.S.C. 404, PROVIDES FOR THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES TO A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS AWAY FROM HIS POST OF DUTY, UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED. PARAGRAPH 4159-1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, ISSUED PURSUANT TO SUCH AUTHORITY, PROVIDES GENERALLY, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBPARAGRAPHS 2 AND 3, THAT A MEMBER TRAVELING UNDER CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS TO, FROM, OR BETWEEN POINTS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES WILL BE ENTITLED TO THE ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 4150 (MILEAGE AT SIX CENTS A MILE OR TRANSPORTATION IN KIND AND A PER DIEM), OR THE ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 4154 FOR MIXED TRAVEL, AS APPLICABLE, FOR THE TRAVEL TO AND FROM THE PORTS INVOLVED. ADDITION, THE MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION OR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION PROCURED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE FOR THE TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL.

TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL IS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH 1150.14, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS FOLLOWS:

"TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL, AS USED IN THESE REGULATIONS, IS ALL TRAVEL WHICH, IF PERFORMED BY SURFACE MEANS OF COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION OVER A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE, WOULD REQUIRE THE USE OF OCEAN-GOING VESSELS. (FOR SPECIAL PROVISIONS RELATIVE TO TRAVEL BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND NEWFOUNDLAND OR ALASKA, SEE PARS. 4159-3 AND 7002-1B, ITEM 6.)"

PARAGRAPH 4159-3, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT A MEMBER WHO IS AUTHORIZED TO AND PERFORMS TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE UNDER PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS BETWEEN A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES AND A POINT IN THE ISLAND PORTION OF NEWFOUNDLAND, WILL BE ENTITLED TO THE ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 4150 OR PARAGRAPH 4154, AS APPLICABLE, FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE INVOLVED.

WE HAVE HELD GENERALLY THAT UNDER STATUTES AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL ON A MILEAGE BASIS, SUCH MILEAGE ALLOWANCE CONSTITUTES A COMMUTATION OF ALL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCLUDING FERRY FARES, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY EXPRESS PROVISION TO THE CONTRARY. IN DECISION OF MARCH 8, 1961, 40 COMP. GEN. 497, WE HELD WITH RESPECT TO TRAVEL ACROSS THE ENGLISH CHANNEL THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE FERRY FARES WAS AUTHORIZED ON THE BASIS THAT TRAVEL ACROSS THE CHANNEL CONSTITUTED TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL. IN THAT CASE IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY REPORTED THAT THE DEFINITION OF "TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL" HAD BEEN AMENDED WITH THE INTENTION OF INCLUDING TRAVEL BY LONG DISTANCE OCEAN-GOING FERRIES AND THAT THE OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES (FOREIGN) HAD BEEN CHANGED TO EXCLUDE DISTANCES INVOLVING OCEAN-GOING FERRIES FROM OVER ALL DISTANCES. IN VIEW OF THE BROAD AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARIES TO PRESCRIBE REGULATIONS AND THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 4159- 1 OF THE REGULATIONS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL IN ADDITION TO THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR THE LAND TRAVEL TO AND FROM THE PORTS INVOLVED, IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT TRAVEL ACROSS THE ENGLISH CHANNEL WHERE MILITARY PERSONNEL ARE CONCERNED, IS PROPERLY TO BE REGARDED AS TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL.

THE DECISION OF MARCH 8, 1961, IS NOT APPLICABLE IN THE PRESENT CASE, HOWEVER, SINCE THE DEFINITION OF TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL QUOTED ABOVE SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTS FROM ITS SCOPE TRAVEL BETWEEN POINTS IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE ISLAND PORTION OF NEWFOUNDLAND, AND REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO SUCH TRAVEL SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE THAT FOR TRAVEL TO OR FROM SUCH LOCATIONS REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE INVOLVED. THEREFORE, THE PAYMENT TO MAJOR MAY FOR HIS TRAVEL IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 4159-3, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE DISTANCE INVOLVED IS A COMMUTATION OF ALL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, INCLUDING THE FERRY FARE INCURRED IN THE TRAVEL FROM NORTH SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA, TO PORT-AUX BASQUES, NEWFOUNDLAND, WHILE EN ROUTE TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION. PARAGRAPH 4405 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, SHOWN IN MAJOR MAY'S ORDER AS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR FERRY TOLLS, IS NOT APPLICABLE IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONSTITUTES NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE FARES INVOLVED.

THE ABOVE VIEWS ARE IN AGREEMENT WITH VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE IN ITS FIRST INDORSEMENT OF MARCH 18, 1963, FORWARDING YOUR LETTER AND ENCLOSURES HERE FOR CONSIDERATION. IT WAS THERE STATED, HOWEVER, THAT INFORMAL ADVICE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE IS TO THE EFFECT THAT THE DISTANCE BETWEEN NORTH SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA, AND PORT-AUX-BASQUES, NEWFOUNDLAND, IS NORMALLY EXCLUDED FROM DISTANCES BETWEEN PLACES IN NEWFOUNDLAND AND PLACES IN THE UNITED STATES. THE VIEW WAS FURTHER EXPRESSED THAT, IF SUCH DISTANCE WAS EXCLUDED IN THE PAYMENT TO MAJOR MAY, HE IS ENTITLED TO A SUPPLEMENTAL PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR THAT DISTANCE. WE AGREE WITH THAT VIEW. IN THAT CONNECTION IT IS NOTED THAT THE MILEAGE GUIDE ON A HIGHWAY MAP OF CANADA AND NORTHERN UNITED STATES, ISSUED BY THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT TRAVEL BUREAU, OTTAWA, CANADA, SHOWS THE DISTANCE BETWEEN SYDNEY AND PORT-AUX-BASQUES AS 110 MILES.

ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED ON THE VOUCHER IN ITS PRESENT FORM. IF IT BE DETERMINED, HOWEVER, THAT THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE TO MAJOR MAY DID NOT INCLUDE THE DISTANCE FROM NORTH SYDNEY TO PORT-AUX BASQUES, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE AMENDED TO COVER A SUPPLEMENTAL PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR SUCH DISTANCE.