B-163800, MAY 28, 1968, 47 COMP. GEN. 686

B-163800: May 28, 1968

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IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON THE SAME BASIS AS THE OPERATOR OF THE VEHICLE UNDER SECTION 3.5C (2). WHICHEVER IS LESS. LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT ALLOWABLE HAD THE PASSENGER USED THE CARRIER UPON WHICH THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRANSPORTATION COSTS ARE DETERMINED. 1968: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF FEBRUARY 29. THE LETTER POINTS OUT THAT CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ARE BEING REVISED SO THAT THE AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE ALLOWED TO A TRAVELER (OPERATOR) WHO USES A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE WILL BE BASED UPON SEPARATE COMPARISONS WITH CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER OF THE TRAVEL TIME AND COST OF TRANSPORTATION. THAT IS (1) MILEAGE FOR THE AUTOMOBILE WILL BE COMPARED WITH THE COMMON CARRIER FARE AND THE LESSER AMOUNT ALLOWED AND (2) TRAVEL TIME BY AUTOMOBILE WILL BE COMPARED WITH THE TRAVEL TIME BY COMMON CARRIER AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWED FOR THE LESSER TIME INVOLVED.

B-163800, MAY 28, 1968, 47 COMP. GEN. 686

TRAVEL EXPENSES - OFFICIAL BUSINESS - PASSENGERS IN PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES AN OFFICIAL PASSENGER WHO TRAVELS IN A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE (POV), THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED TO BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON THE SAME BASIS AS THE OPERATOR OF THE VEHICLE UNDER SECTION 3.5C (2), BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED. THEREFORE, THE CIVILIAN JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS MAY BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE MILEAGE AND CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM TO PASSENGERS IN A POV USED FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS AS A MATTER OF PERSONAL PREFERENCE, THE MILEAGE LIMITED TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF THE APPROPRIATE COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION OR THE STATUTORY MAXIMUM, WHICHEVER IS LESS, AND THE CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM, LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT ALLOWABLE HAD THE PASSENGER USED THE CARRIER UPON WHICH THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRANSPORTATION COSTS ARE DETERMINED.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, MAY 28, 1968:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF FEBRUARY 29, 1968, FROM YOUR UNDER SECRETARY FORWARDED HERE BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE ON MARCH 6, 1968, PDTATAC 68-12, REQUESTING OUR APPROVAL OA PROPOSED ADDITION TO THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (CIVILIAN) WHEREBY AN OFFICIAL PASSENGER TRAVELING IN A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE (POV), THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED TO BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, WOULD BE ALLOWED PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE "ON AN ACTUAL TIME BASIS".

THE LETTER POINTS OUT THAT CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ARE BEING REVISED SO THAT THE AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE ALLOWED TO A TRAVELER (OPERATOR) WHO USES A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE WILL BE BASED UPON SEPARATE COMPARISONS WITH CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER OF THE TRAVEL TIME AND COST OF TRANSPORTATION. THAT IS (1) MILEAGE FOR THE AUTOMOBILE WILL BE COMPARED WITH THE COMMON CARRIER FARE AND THE LESSER AMOUNT ALLOWED AND (2) TRAVEL TIME BY AUTOMOBILE WILL BE COMPARED WITH THE TRAVEL TIME BY COMMON CARRIER AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWED FOR THE LESSER TIME INVOLVED. SUCH COMPARISONS WILL PROVIDE A METHOD OF REIMBURSEMENT MORE CLOSELY CONFORMING TO THE INTENT OF THE GOVERNING PROVISIONS OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED. ALSO, SEE OUR DECISION 45 COMP. GEN. 592.

IT IS POINTED OUT THAT IF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR A PASSENGER IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS LIMITED TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL TIME BY COMMON CARRIER THE OFFICIAL PASSENGER WILL BE PENALIZED INASMUCH AS NO MILEAGE IS PAID TO HIM AND THAT IT WILL DISCOURAGE EMPLOYEES FROM THAT TYPE OF TRAVEL WHICH REPRESENTS A BIG SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT. FURTHER IT IS CONTENDED THAT IN VIEW OF THE SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT IN SUCH TRAVEL PAYMENT "ON AN ACTUAL TIME BASIS" IS PROPER.

SUBSECTION 3.5C (2), BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED, WHICH CONCERNS THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BY AN EMPLOYEE FOR PERSONAL REASONS READS AS FOLLOWS:

WHENEVER A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE IS USED FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES AS A MATTER OF PERSONAL PREFERENCE, IN LIEU OF COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION, PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS SHALL BE LIMITED TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF APPROPRIATE COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION OR THE STATUTORY MAXIMUM, WHICHEVER IS LESS, AND ANY RELATED PER DIEM, DETERMINED AS FOLLOWS:

(B) THE CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM WILL BE LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT OTHERWISE ALLOWABLE IF THE TRAVELER HAD USED THE CARRIER UPON WHICH THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRANSPORTATION COST ARE DETERMINED.

WHILE THE ABOVE LANGUAGE MAY HAVE BEEN INTENDED TO SPEAK ONLY TO THE OPERATOR OF THE POV, IT APPEARS THAT IT IS SUSCEPTIBLE OF INTERPRETATION SO AS TO INCLUDE A PASSENGER IN SUCH VEHICLE. MOREOVER, THE FACT THAT THE OPERATOR OF A VEHICLE RECEIVES MILEAGE OR CONSTRUCTIVE COMMON CARRIER FARE FOR THE USE OF HIS AUTOMOBILE WOULD NOT APPEAR TO BE A SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR ALLOWING A PASSENGER IN SUCH AUTOMOBILE A GREATER AMOUNT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE. THEREFORE, OUR VIEW IS THAT PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE TO A PASSENGER IN AN AUTOMOBILE IN THE SITUATION PRESENTED WOULD BE FOR DETERMINATION ON THE SAME BASIS AS THAT APPLICABLE TO THE OPERATOR OF THE POV.