B-166267, APR. 17, 1969

B-166267: Apr 17, 1969

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USCG: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 22. SHOW SUCH PAYMENTS WERE COMPUTED ON THE OFFICIAL HIGHWAY DISTANCE OF 151 MILES BETWEEN WASHINGTON. IS CLOSE TO 200 MILES. YOU EXPRESSED THE OPINION THAT THE 151 MILE FIGURE MAY HAVE BEEN COMPUTED ON THE ROAD DISTANCE FROM WASHINGTON. IN THAT CASE YOU BELIEVED YOU WERE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR A $4 FERRY CHARGE FOR SUCH TRAVEL. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASONS STATED. MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ARE ENTITLED ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO RECEIVE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES. PROVIDES THAT OFFICIAL DISTANCES ARE ESTABLISHED UNDER DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY. IN EFFECT AT THAT TIME IS SHOWN AS 151 MILES.

B-166267, APR. 17, 1969

TO COMMANDER JAMES F. CULBERTSON, USCG:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 22, 1969, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF SETTLEMENT BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DATED NOVEMBER 22, 1968, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL MILEAGE AND MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION FOR YOUR TRAVEL AND THAT OF YOUR DEPENDENTS FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO WILDWOOD, NEW JERSEY, UNDER ORDERS OF FEBRUARY 27, 1968.

THE ORDERS OF FEBRUARY 27, 1968, ASSIGNED YOU ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO THE COAST GUARD ELECTRONICS ENGINEERING CENTER, WILDWOOD, NEW JERSEY. THE ORDERS DIRECTED YOU TO BE DETACHED ON OR ABOUT JULY 15, 1968, AND AUTHORIZED 20 DAYS' DELAY TO BE CHARGED AS LEAVE. IN COMPLIANCE WITH ORDERS, YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS TRAVELED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND UPON ARRIVAL IN WILDWOOD, NEW JERSEY, YOU REPORTED AT YOUR NEW DUTY STATION ON AUGUST 9, 1968.

COPIES OF VOUCHERS EVIDENCING PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR YOUR TRAVEL AND MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION FOR DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO WILDWOOD, NEW JERSEY, SHOW SUCH PAYMENTS WERE COMPUTED ON THE OFFICIAL HIGHWAY DISTANCE OF 151 MILES BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY, THE OFFICIAL STATION SERVING WILDWOOD, NEW JERSEY.

IN YOUR CLAIM DATED AUGUST 28, 1968, YOU CONTENDED THAT THE ACTUAL SHORTEST HIGHWAY DISTANCE BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY, IS CLOSE TO 200 MILES. YOU EXPRESSED THE OPINION THAT THE 151 MILE FIGURE MAY HAVE BEEN COMPUTED ON THE ROAD DISTANCE FROM WASHINGTON, C., TO LEWES, DELAWARE, THENCE BY FERRY TO CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY. IN THAT CASE YOU BELIEVED YOU WERE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR A $4 FERRY CHARGE FOR SUCH TRAVEL. YOU REQUESTED THAT THE PROPER DISTANCE BE RESOLVED AND APPROPRIATE ACTION BE TAKEN ON YOUR CLAIM.

BY SETTLEMENT DATED NOVEMBER 22, 1968, YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASONS STATED. IN YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 22, 1969, YOU RESUBMITTED YOUR CLAIM, APPEALING THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE DETERMINATION AS BEINGUNREALISTIC AND ITS APPLICATION UNFAIR IN THAT IT REQUIRES THE TRAVELER TO INCUR UNREASONABLE TOLL CHARGES THAT CANNOT BE REIMBURSED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

UNDER SECTIONS 404 AND 406 OF TITLE 37, U.S.C. MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ARE ENTITLED ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO RECEIVE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES, OR MILEAGE, FOR PERSONAL AND DEPENDENT TRAVEL UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS, BASED ON DISTANCES ESTABLISHED OVER THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE UNDER MILEAGE TABLES PREPARED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY.

PARAGRAPH M4155-1, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDES THAT OFFICIAL DISTANCES ARE ESTABLISHED UNDER DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY. SUBPARAGRAPH 2B OF THAT PARAGRAPH PROVIDES THAT THE OFFICIAL HIGHWAY DISTANCE SHALL BE THE "OFFICIAL DISTANCE" FOR TRAVEL WHEN PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE. ARMY REGULATION 55-60 CONTAINS THE "OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES" ESTABLISHED UNDER DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY. THE OFFICIAL HIGHWAY DISTANCE FROM CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., IN EFFECT AT THAT TIME IS SHOWN AS 151 MILES.

THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS CONTEMPLATE THAT UNDER THE SPECIFIC AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, THE OFFICIAL DISTANCES ESTABLISHED UNDER HIS DIRECTION SHALL BE USED IN COMPUTING THE ENTITLEMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR TRAVEL BY THEM UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS. THE QUESTION OF WHAT ROUTES ARE TO BE USED IN ESTABLISHING THOSE OFFICIAL DISTANCES IS A MATTER SOLELY WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY, AND OUR OFFICE MAY NOT QUESTION THE LEGALITY OR CORRECTNESS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE METHOD USED IN ESTABLISHING THE HIGHWAY DISTANCES.

HOWEVER, FOR YOUR INFORMATION, IN PARAGRAPH 5B OF THE INTRODUCTORY REMARKS TO THE ARMY REGULATION 50-60, CONTAINING THE OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES DETERMINED UNDER THE CITED STATUTORY AUTHORITY, IT IS STATED THAT THE HIGHWAY DISTANCES SHOWN IN THAT TABLE HAVE BEEN COMPUTED OVER THE SHORTEST, USUALLY TRAVELED, HIGHWAY ROUTES AS SHOWN ON THE LATEST AVAILABLE HIGHWAY MAPS, AND THAT THE HIGHWAY DISTANCES INCLUDE THE MILEAGE COVERED BY CAR FERRIES WHICH CONNECT TO THE STATE, FEDERAL, OR INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS USED. THUS, THE TRAVELER ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS RECEIVES THAT ALLOWANCE FOR THE ENTIRE DISTANCE OF TRAVEL OVER THE OFFICIAL ROUTE INCLUDING ANY FERRY TRAVEL DISTANCES, EVEN THOUGH REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY FERRY FARES INVOLVED IS EXPRESSLY PRECLUDED BY THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH M4400-1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

IN THE CURRENT STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE PUBLISHED BY RAND MCNALLY AND CO., THE HIGHWAY DISTANCE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO CAPE MAY ALSO IS SHOWN AS 151 MILES, SUCH DISTANCE INCLUDING 17 MILES BY FERRY FROM LEWES, DELAWARE, TO CAPE MAY.

ACCORDINGLY, WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE OTHER THAN TO SUSTAIN THE DISALLOWANCE OF NOVEMBER 22, 1968.