B-159583, JUL. 19, 1966

B-159583: Jul 19, 1966

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THE FACTS IN THE CASE AS RELATED BY YOUR LETTER ARE AS FOLLOWS: "THE AMOUNT. WAS BASED ON COMPARATIVE COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION VIA JET TOURIST AND JET FAMILY PLAN BETWEEN JUNEAU. A DEDUCTION WAS MADE FROM THE TRAVELER'S CLAIM FOR THE DIFFERENCE IN COST OF JET TOURIST AND PROPELLER DRIVEN AIRCRAFT ON FOUR ROUND TRIP FARES BETWEEN JUNEAU. THIS DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED ON THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AS AMENDED WHICH STATES "ENTIRE TRIP MAY NOT. IN SOME CASES FAMILY PLAN OR OTHER SPECIAL RATES REDUCING TRAVEL COSTS WILL BE REQUIRED. - FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ALLOWANCE WILL BE FIGURED ON A COMPARATIVE BASIS.'. FAMILY PLAN RATES WERE NOT AVAILABLE ON PACIFIC NORTHERN AIRLINES. 096 WAS ISSUED COVERING ROUND TRIP TRANSPORTATION FOR ONE DEPENDENT WHICH INCLUDED TRANSPORTATION ON PROPELLER DRIVEN AIRCRAFT BETWEEN JUNEAU AND SEATTLE.

B-159583, JUL. 19, 1966

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, FOREST SERVICE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 3, 1966, REFERENCE 6540, WITH ENCLOSURES, INCLUDING A RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR $104 IN FAVOR OF DAVID CROSBY, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREST SERVICE, COVERING CERTAIN HOME LEAVE TRAVEL EXPENSES, REQUESTS OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE METHOD OF REIMBURSEMENT TO BE USED IN HIS CASE.

THE FACTS IN THE CASE AS RELATED BY YOUR LETTER ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"THE AMOUNT, AS ORIGINALLY CLAIMED, WAS BASED ON COMPARATIVE COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION VIA JET TOURIST AND JET FAMILY PLAN BETWEEN JUNEAU, ALASKA AND NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT. THE EMPLOYEE, HIS WIFE AND ONE DEPENDENT TRAVELED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. ONE DEPENDENT TRAVELED VIA COMMERCIAL AIR CARRIER. A DEDUCTION WAS MADE FROM THE TRAVELER'S CLAIM FOR THE DIFFERENCE IN COST OF JET TOURIST AND PROPELLER DRIVEN AIRCRAFT ON FOUR ROUND TRIP FARES BETWEEN JUNEAU, ALASKA AND SEATTLE, WASHINGTON. THIS DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED ON THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AS AMENDED WHICH STATES "ENTIRE TRIP MAY NOT, FOR ALL EXPENSES, EXCEED COST ROUND TRIP FARES PERMISSIBLE UNDER ALLOWANCE FOR FAMILY PLAN AIR FARES IN ACCORDANCE WITH R10 SUPPLEMENT NO. 23, FSM 6543.52B.' SUPPLEMENT NO. 23 PROVIDES: "2. EMPLOYEES WITH DEPENDENTS. IN SOME CASES FAMILY PLAN OR OTHER SPECIAL RATES REDUCING TRAVEL COSTS WILL BE REQUIRED--- FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ALLOWANCE WILL BE FIGURED ON A COMPARATIVE BASIS.'

"DURING THE PERIOD OF TRAVEL BY THE EMPLOYEE, PACIFIC NORTHERN AIRLINES ESTABLISHED PROPELLER DRIVEN AIRCRAFT SERVICE BETWEEN JUNEAU AND SEATTLE ON A TRIAL BASIS AT SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCED RATES. FAMILY PLAN RATES WERE NOT AVAILABLE ON PACIFIC NORTHERN AIRLINES. IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGION 10 SUPPLEMENT NO. 23, TRANSPORTATION REQUEST A6,057,096 WAS ISSUED COVERING ROUND TRIP TRANSPORTATION FOR ONE DEPENDENT WHICH INCLUDED TRANSPORTATION ON PROPELLER DRIVEN AIRCRAFT BETWEEN JUNEAU AND SEATTLE. SIMILAR TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN PROVIDED BETWEEN THESE TWO POINTS TO THE EMPLOYEE, HIS WIFE AND OTHER DEPENDENT IF THEY HAD ELECTED TO TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIR CARRIER.

"THE EMPLOYEE, DAVID CROSBY, HAS RECLAIMED THE AMOUNT DISALLOWED BASED ON FOREST SERVICE REGULATIONS, FSM 6543.52B, THAT STATES: "TRAVEL EXPENSES SHALL BE SUBJECT TO PROVISION OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS" AND SGTR 3.5B (2) WHICH PROVIDES IN PART "WHEN ACCOMMODATIONS ARE PROVIDED ON BOTH JET AND PROPELLER DRIVEN PLANES THE COMPARISON WILL BE MADE WITH THE JET PLANES.'"

YOUR QUESTIONS ARE FRAMED AS FOLLOWS:

"1. IS THE EMPLOYEE ENTITLED TO USE HIGHER COST TRANSPORTATION FOR COMPARATIVE PURPOSES THAN THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN PROVIDED IF THE GOVERNMENT FURNISHED THE TRANSPORTATION?

"2. IF THE ANSWER TO (1) IS AFFIRMATIVE, IS THE EMPLOYEE ENTITLED TO USE A COST COMPARATIVE BASIS FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY AS A GROUP, EVEN THOUGH ONE MEMBER ACTUALLY TRAVELED VIA COMMON CARRIER?

IN RESPONSE TO QUESTION 1, SECTION 3.5B (2) (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DOES REQUIRE THAT THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF AIR COACH ACCOMMODATIONS BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF JET POWERED PLANES WHEN SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS ARE FURNISHED BY BOTH JET AND PROPELLER DRIVEN PLANES. THEREFORE, QUESTION 1 IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

CONCERNING QUESTION 2, OUR OPINION IS THAT IN VIEW OF THE AFFIRMATIVE ANSWER TO QUESTION 1, THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST CEILING FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY UNDER THE TRAVEL ORDERS IS REQUIRED TO BE BASED ON JET TOURIST BETWEEN JUNEAU AND SEATTLE AND JET TOURIST FAMILY FARES BETWEEN SEATTLE AND PHILADELPHIA. THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST ON THAT BASIS (JET TOURIST AND JET FAMILY FARES) FOR THE THREE MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY, OR ON THE MILEAGE BASIS AUTHORIZED IN THE ORDERS PLUS THE COST OF AIR TRAVEL AS PERFORMED BY THE SON BOTH APPEAR TO EXCEED THE SUM AUTHORIZED BY THE COST CEILING.

SINCE THE RECLAIM VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, IS IN CONSONANCE WITH OUR ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS, IT MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.