B-151609, SEP. 25, 1963, 43 COMP. GEN. 302

B-151609: Sep 25, 1963

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TRAVEL EXPENSES - MILITARY PERSONNEL - FERRY FARES - ALASKA FERRY SYSTEM A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FROM A DUTY STATION IN THE UNITED STATES TO A PERMANENT DUTY STATION IN ALASKA MAY NOT BE PAID THE COST OF VESSEL SERVICE USED FOR A PORTION OF THE TRIP IN ALASKA ON THE BASIS THE SERVICE WAS TRANSOCEANIC AND NOT FERRY SERVICE. 1963: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TRAVEL CLAIM DATED MARCH 18. YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM DUTY WITH THE CGC WOODBINE (WAGL-289) AT GRAND HAVEN. TRAVEL BY YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE WAS AUTHORIZED FOR YOUR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. YOU WERE PAID $265.08 FOR SUCH TRAVEL. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 20.

B-151609, SEP. 25, 1963, 43 COMP. GEN. 302

TRAVEL EXPENSES - MILITARY PERSONNEL - FERRY FARES - ALASKA FERRY SYSTEM A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FROM A DUTY STATION IN THE UNITED STATES TO A PERMANENT DUTY STATION IN ALASKA MAY NOT BE PAID THE COST OF VESSEL SERVICE USED FOR A PORTION OF THE TRIP IN ALASKA ON THE BASIS THE SERVICE WAS TRANSOCEANIC AND NOT FERRY SERVICE, THE PAYMENT OF A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE TO THE MEMBER, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 4159-3 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, ISSUED PURSUANT TO 37 U.S.C. 404, CONSTITUTING A COMMUTATION OF ALL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, INCLUDING FERRY FARES AND BRIDGE, ROAD, AND TUNNEL TOLLS, IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EXPRESS PROVISION TO THE CONTRARY, IN VIEW OF PARAGRAPH 4159-1, WHICH IN PROVIDING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL IN ADDITION TO THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE EXCLUDES FROM ITS SCOPE TRAVEL TO AND FROM POINTS IN THE UNITED STATES AND ALASKA, AND PARAGRAPH 4159-3, WHICH AUTHORIZES THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL TO AND FROM ALASKA BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE SHALL BE ON A MILEAGE BASIS.

TO RICHARD M. CATHCART, SEPTEMBER 25, 1963:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TRAVEL CLAIM DATED MARCH 18, 1963, FORWARDED HERE BY THE COMMANDANT, U.S. COAST GUARD, BY LETTER OF MAY 9, 1963, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF THE SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 20, 1963, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF FERRY FARE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR AUTOMOBILE FROM HAINES, ALASKA, TO TEE HARBOR, JUNEAU, ALASKA, ON OCTOBER 17, 1962.

BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. 58900/992030930, DATED JUNE 25, 1963, YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM DUTY WITH THE CGC WOODBINE (WAGL-289) AT GRAND HAVEN, MICHIGAN, AND DIRECTED TO REPORT FOR INTERMEDIATE DUTY AT THE COAST GUARD BASE, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AND FOR FURTHER TRANSFER AND DUTY TO THE COMMANDER, 17TH COAST GUARD DISTRICT, JUNEAU, ALASKA, AND TO SUCH STATION AS MIGHT BE ASSIGNED BY THAT COMMANDER. TRAVEL BY YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE WAS AUTHORIZED FOR YOUR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT AFTER A PERIOD OF LEAVE, YOU DROVE YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FROM GRAND HAVEN, MICHIGAN, TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, ARRIVING AT SEATTLE ON OCTOBER 8, 1962. YOU THEN DEPARTED SEATTLE BY YOUR AUTOMOBILE ON OCTOBER 11, 1962, AND ARRIVED AT JUNEAU, ALASKA, ON OCTOBER 17, REPORTING THERE TO THE COMMANDER, 17TH COAST GUARD DISTRICT, WHO ASSIGNED YOU TO THE CGC SWEETBRIER (WAGL-405), FOR DUTY. YOU WERE PAID $265.08 FOR SUCH TRAVEL, REPRESENTING 4,418 MILES AT $0.06 PER MILE UNDER CONTROLLING REGULATIONS. IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT FOR THAT PORTION OF YOUR TRAVEL FROM HAINES, ALASKA, TO JUNEAU, ALASKA, YOU UTILIZED A FERRY TO TRANSPORT YOURSELF AND YOUR AUTOMOBILE TO JUNEAU. ON THIS BASIS, YOU CLAIM $20 FOR YOUR CAR FERRY FARE AND $5.50 FOR YOUR OWN FERRY FARE, TOTALING $25.50. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 20, 1963, FOR THE REASON THAT UNDER THE STATUTES AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL ON A MILEAGE BASIS, SUCH ALLOWANCE CONSTITUTES A COMMUTATION OF ALL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, INCLUDING FERRY FARES AND BRIDGE, ROAD AND TUNNEL TOLLS, IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EXPRESS PROVISION TO THE CONTRARY.

THE COMMANDER OF THE 17TH COAST GUARD DISTRICT, IN FORWARDING YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW TO OUR OFFICE, HAS AVERRED THAT M/V CHILKAT APPARENTLY USED BY YOU, WAS LICENSED AS A MOTOR VESSEL AND NOT A FERRY, AND THAT THE PUBLIC SERVICE OFFERED BY THIS VESSEL WAS NOT OF A TYPE NORMALLY ATTRIBUTED TO A BRIDGE OR TUNNEL, AS IT WAS NOT AN EXTENSION OF ANY PARTICULAR HIGHWAY BUT IS A VESSEL THAT WAS USED TO TRANSPORT PASSENGERS, FREIGHT AND/OR VEHICLES BETWEEN THE PORTS OF JUNEAU, HAINES, AND SKAGWAY, ALASKA. IT IS FURTHER AVERRED, ON YOUR BEHALF, THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH INCLUDE THE PAYMENT OF FERRY FARES ARE NOT INTENDED TO INCLUDE THIS TYPE OF VESSEL AND AS THERE IS NO ROAD TO JUNEAU FROM HAINES, IT IS CONTENDED THAT HAINES IS A POINT OF EMBARKATION AND THAT PORTION OF THE JOURNEY FROM HAINES TO TEE HARBOR (JUNEAU) SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS A SEPARATE JOURNEY UNDER 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 6 CENTS A MILE OR TRANSPORTATION IN KIND, AND/OR PER DIEM), AS APPLICABLE FOR THE TRAVEL TO AND FROM THE PORTS INVOLVED. IN ADDITION, THE MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION OR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION PROCURED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE FOR THE TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL INVOLVED.

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 (THE CONTIGUOUS 48 STATES) AND A POINT IN ALASKA OR 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 OVERALL 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 YOUR CASE, HOWEVER, SINCE THE DEFINITION OF TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL QUOTED ABOVE SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTS FROM ITS SCOPE TRAVEL FROM POINTS IN THE UNITED STATES AND ALASKA, 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 TRAVEL INVOLVED.

THE PAYMENT TO YOU FOR YOUR TRAVEL IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 4159 3, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE DISTANCE INVOLVED WAS A COMMUTATION OF ALL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED IN YOUR TRAVEL FROM HAINES TO JUNEAU, ALASKA, ON YOUR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. HOWEVER, EXAMINATION OF THE COMPUTATION USED FOR YOUR TRAVEL FROM GRAND HAVEN TO JUNEAU, VIA SEATTLE, SHOWS THAT YOU WERE PAID $265.08, REPRESENTING 4,418 MILES AT 6 CENTS PER MILE, WHEREAS THE DISTANCE INVOLVED SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPUTED AT 4,465 MILES, INCLUDING THE DISTANCE OF 69 MILES BETWEEN HAINES AND JUNEAU. A SETTLEMENT FOR THE 47 MILE DIFFERENCE WILL ISSUE IN DUE COURSE. SEE DECISION OF MAY 23, 1963, B-151100, COPY ENCLOSED, RELATING TO TRAVEL TO NEWFOUNDLAND WHICH IS GOVERNED BY THE SAME REGULATIONS.