B-157680, DEC. 8, 1965

B-157680: Dec 8, 1965

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USNR: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE FROM JACKSON. YOU SAY YOU CHOSE TO TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE AND ARE CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR ON A MILEAGE BASIS. A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION IN KIND. A MEMBER MAY ELECT TO MAKE USE OF SOME MODE OF TRANSPORTATION OTHER THAN THAT PROVIDED IN HIS ORDERS IF THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT JEOPARDIZED THEREBY. ON THIS BASIS IT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED THAT A MEMBER WHO IS AUTHORIZED TO USE COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION BUT WHO TRAVELS BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE IS ENTITLED TO A TRAVEL ALLOWANCE AT 5 CENTS A MILE WHERE NO PAYMENT WAS REQUIRED FOR THE AUTHORIZED COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION.

B-157680, DEC. 8, 1965

TO LINNY C. BUSBY, EOH2, USNR:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE FROM JACKSON, MISSOURI, TO PORT HUENEME, CALIFORNIA, AND RETURN INCIDENT TO ORDERS DATED MARCH 5, 1965, FOR ACTIVE DUTY TRAINING IN THE UNITED STATES NAVAL RESERVE.

THESE ORDERS PLACED YOU ON ACTIVE DUTY FOR TRAINING NOT TO EXCEED 14 DAYS AND AUTHORIZED YOU TO TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION (TR'S AND MEAL TICKETS FURNISHED) TO YOUR DUTY STATION AT THE NAVAL CB CENTER, PORT HUENEME. AN ENDORSEMENT ON YOUR ORDERS SHOWS THAT A BUS HAD BEEN CHARTERED FOR TRAVEL FROM CAPE GIRARDEAU, MISSOURI, TO ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, AND RETURN, AND THAT A PLANE HAD BEEN CHARTERED FOR TRAVEL FROM ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, TO POINT MUGU, CALIFORNIA, AND RETURN, FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSPORTING YOU AND OTHER NAVAL RESERVISTS TO AND FROM THE PLACE OF TRAINING DUTY IN CALIFORNIA, SUCH TRANSPORTATION DEPARTING FROM CAPE GIRARDEAU ON MARCH 28, 1965, AND RETURNING ON APRIL 11, 1965. HOWEVER, YOU SAY YOU CHOSE TO TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE AND ARE CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR ON A MILEAGE BASIS.

SECTION 404 OF TITLE 37, U.S.C. PROVIDES THAT UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION IN KIND, REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, OR A MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN PLACE OF THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED UNDER ORDERS TO ACTIVE DUTY AND UPON RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY. AS A GENERAL RULE AND IN THE ABSENCE OF A PROHIBITORY STATUTE, A MEMBER MAY ELECT TO MAKE USE OF SOME MODE OF TRANSPORTATION OTHER THAN THAT PROVIDED IN HIS ORDERS IF THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT JEOPARDIZED THEREBY. SEE 18 COMP. GEN. 477; 21 COMP. GEN. 116. ON THIS BASIS IT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED THAT A MEMBER WHO IS AUTHORIZED TO USE COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION BUT WHO TRAVELS BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE IS ENTITLED TO A TRAVEL ALLOWANCE AT 5 CENTS A MILE WHERE NO PAYMENT WAS REQUIRED FOR THE AUTHORIZED COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION. IN DECISION OF FEBRUARY 24, 1961, 40 COMP. GEN. 482, IT WAS HELD THAT AFTER THE CONVERSION OF THE MILITARY SEA TRANSPORTATION SERVICE AND THE MILITARY AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE TO INDUSTRIAL FUND FINANCED ACTIVITIES AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF STANDARD CHARGES FOR TRANSPORTATION BY THESE ACTIVITIES, MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO ARE AUTHORIZED, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED, TO TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT CONVEYANCE, AND WHO DO NOT USE AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION BUT USE COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION AT PERSONAL EXPENSE, MAY BE REIMBURSED UNDER THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR THE COST OF SUCH TRAVEL ON THE BASIS OF THE STANDARD CHARGES WHICH THE SPONSORING SERVICE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN BY GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION. SEE ALSO 41 COMP. GEN. 100. REIMBURSEMENT ON THIS BASIS DOES NOT JEOPARDIZE THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT.

IN YOUR CASE, YOUR ORDERS OF MARCH 5, 1965, AUTHORIZED COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION CONTEMPLATING THE USE OF THE COMMERCIAL BUS AND AIRPLANE THAT HAD BEEN CHARTERED BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE GOVERNMENT WAS REQUIRED TO PAY FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION EVEN THOUGH YOU AND SOME OF THE OTHER RESERVISTS ORDERED TO TRAINING DUTY DID NOT USE IT. SINCE THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT WERE JEOPARDIZED BY YOUR FAILURE TO USE THE AUTHORIZED AND AVAILABLE TRANSPORTATION, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO BASIS TO REIMBURSE YOU FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN PERFORMING THE REQUIRED TRAVEL. AS YOU POINT OUT, YOUR ORDERS DID NOT SPECIFICALLY DIRECT YOU TO USE THE AVAILABLE COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION, BUT NEITHER DID THEY AUTHORIZE YOU TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE. NEITHER 37 U.S.C. 404 NOR THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS CONTEMPLATE THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL PAY TWICE FOR A MEMBER'S TRANSPORTATION BECAUSE HE ELECTS FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE TO TRAVEL BY A MEANS OTHER THAN THAT AUTHORIZED AND MADE AVAILABLE TO HIM.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF AUGUST 18, 1965, DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM WAS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED. YOUR ORIGINAL ORDERS ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.