B-158517, MAR. 22, 1966, 45 COMP. GEN. 592

B-158517: Mar 22, 1966

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THE USE OF SEPARATE METHODS FOR DETERMINING MILEAGE AND PER DIEM PAYMENTS IS PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 3.5 (B) (2) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. LIMITING REIMBURSEMENT TO CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF AVAILABLE AIR COACH UNLESS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IS MADE THAT THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST COMPARISON BY RAIL IS MORE ECONOMICAL. WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM CLEARWATER. THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL EITHER BY COMMON CARRIER OR BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AT 12 CENTS PER MILE. THE TRAVEL ORDER FURTHER PROVIDED: "ALLOWANCE PLUS PER DIEM MUST NOT EXCEED FIRST-CLASS RAIL PLUS PULLMAN PLUS PER DIEM CHARGES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD TRAVEL BEEN PERFORMED VIA CARRIER.'.

B-158517, MAR. 22, 1966, 45 COMP. GEN. 592

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - COMMON CARRIER COST LIMITATION - COMPUTATION IN COMPARING THE COST OF TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLE WITH THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER INCIDENT TO THE TRAVEL OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE AND HIS DEPENDENTS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE UNDER PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER OR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE, WITH MILEAGE AND PER DIEM, THE COST NOT TO EXCEED FIRST-CLASS RAIL, THE USE OF SEPARATE METHODS FOR DETERMINING MILEAGE AND PER DIEM PAYMENTS IS PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 3.5 (B) (2) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A -7, REVISED, DATED JULY 20, 1964, LIMITING REIMBURSEMENT TO CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF AVAILABLE AIR COACH UNLESS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IS MADE THAT THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST COMPARISON BY RAIL IS MORE ECONOMICAL, THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE BEING LESS THAN THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF AVAILABLE AIR TRANSPORTATION, THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE PAID MILEAGE AT THE RATE AUTHORIZED FOR THE DISTANCE TRAVELED, BUT MAY NOT BE PAID ANY PER DIEM, THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL TIME BY AIR BEING LESS THAN 10 HOURS DURING THE SAME CALENDAR DAY.

TO LUCILLE EDISON, UNITED STATES ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION, MARCH 22, 1966:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 8, 1966, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE AFC:LE, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE TRAVEL VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF MR. CHARLES B. QUINN FOR $92, REPRESENTING A RECLAIM FOR PER DIEM ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM A PRIOR TRAVEL VOUCHER.

BY TRAVEL ORDER DATED JUNE 16, 1965, MR. QUINN, HIS WIFE, AND TWO CHILDREN, AGES 12 AND 4, WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, TO LOS ALAMOS, NEW MEXICO, PURSUANT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL EITHER BY COMMON CARRIER OR BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AT 12 CENTS PER MILE, WITH PER DIEM AT $16 PER DAY. WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE, THE TRAVEL ORDER FURTHER PROVIDED: "ALLOWANCE PLUS PER DIEM MUST NOT EXCEED FIRST-CLASS RAIL PLUS PULLMAN PLUS PER DIEM CHARGES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD TRAVEL BEEN PERFORMED VIA CARRIER.' YOU SAY THAT AIR TRANSPORTATION WAS AVAILABLE BETWEEN CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, AND LOS ALAMOS, NEW MEXICO, AND, THEREFORE, THE TRAVEL ORDER SHOULD HAVE LIMITED MILEAGE AND PER DIEM TO COST OF TRAVEL BY AIR AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 3.5B (2) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY ACTUALLY PERFORMED THE TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, DEPARTING FROM SAINT PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, ON JULY 12, 1965, AND ARRIVING IN LOS ALAMOS ON JULY 18, 1965. ON HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER, THE EMPLOYEE CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT OF $207.60 AS MILEAGE (1,730 MILES AT 12 CENTS PER MILE) AND $92 AS PER DIEM--- A TOTAL OF $299.60. HOWEVER, HE RECEIVED PAYMENT ONLY FOR THE MILEAGE CLAIMED. ($207.60).

YOUR LETTER STATES THAT YOUR OFFICE HAS INTERPRETED PARAGRAPHS (A) AND (B) OF SECTION 3.5B (2) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO MEAN THAT WHEN COMPARING THE COST OF TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WITH THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER, SEPARATE LIMITATIONS ARE TO BE PLACED ON THE MILEAGE AND PER DIEM PAYMENTS. EXPLANATION OF THE PRECEDING STATEMENT, YOUR LETTER READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

MILEAGE ALLOWANCE--- SGTR 3.5 (B) (2) (A) IN EFFECT AT THE TIME TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED PROVIDED THAT "THE MILEAGE PAYMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF COACH ACCOMMODATIONS * * * ON AIRPLANES WHEN SUCH SERVICE IS PROVIDED BY A CARRIER.' THEREFORE, MR. QUINN WAS PAID MILEAGE ALLOWANCE OF $207.60 REPRESENTING OFFICIAL MILEAGE OF 1,730 MILES AT 12 CENTS PER MILE, THIS AMOUNT BEING LESS THAN CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF AIR TRANSPORTATION (INCLUDING COST OF LIMOUSINES, TAXIS, ETC.).

PER DIEM--- SGTR 3.5 (B) (2) (B) IN EFFECT AT THE TIME TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED PROVIDED THAT "THE CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM WILL BE LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT OTHERWISE ALLOWABLE IF THE TRAVEL HAD USED THE COMMON CARRIER UPON WHICH THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRANSPORTATION COSTS ARE DETERMINED.' THEREFORE NO PER DIEM WAS ALLOWED SINCE TRAVEL TIME WAS LESS THAN TEN HOURS. TRAVEL COULD HAVE BEEN PERFORMED BY AIR LEAVING TAMPA, FLORIDA AT 8:40 A.M. AND ARRIVING IN LOS ALAMOS AT 1:50 P.M. THE SAME DAY.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, YOU REQUEST ADVICE AS TO THE PROPER METHOD OF DETERMINING THE AMOUNT ALLOWABLE FOR THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION. ALSO, IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3.5B (2) OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS, YOU ASK WHETHER THERE IS ANY BASIS FOR LIMITING THE EMPLOYEE'S MILEAGE PAYMENT INCLUDING PER DIEM TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF RAIL TRAVEL AS WAS PROVIDED IN THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER.

BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED, TRANSMITTAL MEMORANDUM NO. 29, DATED JULY 20, 1964, AMENDED SECTION 3.5 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO PRESCRIBE A METHOD BY WHICH THE CONSTRUCTIVE ALLOWANCES FOR COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM ARE TO BE DETERMINED WHEN FOR PERSONAL REASONS EMPLOYEES ELECT TO USE PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL. THE AMENDMENT, REFERRED TO ABOVE, WHICH BECAME EFFECTIVE WITH TRAVEL BEGINNING ON OR AFTER AUGUST 15, 1964, LIMITED REIMBURSEMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL BY AIR COACH ACCOMMODATIONS WHEN SUCH SERVICE IS PROVIDED BY A CARRIER. WHEN AIR TRANSPORTATION IS NOT PROVIDED BETWEEN THE ORIGIN AND DESTINATION POINTS, THE MILEAGE PAYMENT IS TO BE LIMITED TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF RAIL TRANSPORTATION. HOWEVER, THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST COMPARISON MAY ALSO BE MADE WITH RAIL TRANSPORTATION EVEN THOUGH AIR TRANSPORTATION IS PROVIDED WHEN AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IS MADE THAT SUCH COMPARISON, INCLUDING RELATED PER DIEM, IS MORE ECONOMICAL, AND THE TRAVEL ORDER OR OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTIVE SO PROVIDES.

WHILE IN THE PRESENT CASE THE TRAVEL ORDER DID PROVIDE THAT THE MILEAGE PAYMENT, INCLUDING RELATED PER DIEM, WOULD BE LIMITED TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF RAIL TRANSPORTATION, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT A SPECIFIC ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION WAS MADE THAT SUCH COMPARISON WOULD, IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE, BE MORE ECONOMICAL. ON THE CONTRARY, YOU INDICATE THAT THE COST BY RAIL LIMITATION WAS ERRONEOUSLY INCLUDED IN THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER. THEREFORE, IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION, THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST COMPARISON MUST BE MADE WITH AIR TRANSPORTATION.

SECTION 3.5B (2) OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS NOW PRESCRIBES IN PARAGRAPH (A) AND (B) SEPARATE METHODS FOR DETERMINING MILEAGE AND PER DIEM PAYMENTS WHEN, FOR PERSONAL REASONS, EMPLOYEES ELECT TO USE THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL. WE AGREE THAT THAT SECTION IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS REQUIRING SEPARATE LIMITATIONS ON THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE AND PER DIEM. THEREFORE, SINCE THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL TIME BY AIR IN THIS CASE WAS LESS THAN 10 HOURS DURING THE SAME CALENDAR DAY, THE EMPLOYEE PROPERLY WAS DENIED ANY PAYMENT OF PER DIEM. SEE SECTION 6.11, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE RECLAIM VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.