B-166552, JUN. 27, 1969

B-166552: Jun 27, 1969

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IT IS THE INTENT OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS THAT WHERE MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT IS RESTRICTED TO THE COST OF COMMON CARRIER. THE COST OF THE LOWEST COACH ACCOMMODATIONS AVAILABLE IS TO BE USED AS THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS IF THE USE OF SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS WOULD ALLOW THE EMPLOYEE TO ARRIVE AT DESTINATION POINT ON THE SAME DAY HE ARRIVED BY USING HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AS AUTHORIZED. THE RECORD SHOWS THE CLAIMANT AND HIS THREE DEPENDENTS (WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN) WERE AUTHORIZED VACATION TRAVEL FROM FAIRBANKS. TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIR WAS AUTHORIZED AS WELL AS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT 12 CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED COST BY COMMON CARRIER. THE RETURN TRIP WAS MADE BY AUTOMOBILE AND THE CLAIMANT SHOWS MILEAGE OF 4.

B-166552, JUN. 27, 1969

TO MR. R. J. SCHULLERY:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 25, 1969, SUBMITS A RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR $94 (SHOULD BE $93.85) REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE IN COMPUTING CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF AIR TRAVEL BASED UPON TOURIST FARE COSTS AS OPPOSED TO FAMILY FARE COSTS FOR VACATION TRAVEL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5728 (A). YOU ASK WHETHER, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE, AS SET OUT HEREINAFTER, IT IS THE INTENT OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS THAT WHERE MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT IS RESTRICTED TO THE COST OF COMMON CARRIER, THE COST OF THE LOWEST COACH ACCOMMODATIONS AVAILABLE IS TO BE USED AS THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS IF THE USE OF SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS WOULD ALLOW THE EMPLOYEE TO ARRIVE AT DESTINATION POINT ON THE SAME DAY HE ARRIVED BY USING HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AS AUTHORIZED.

THE RECORD SHOWS THE CLAIMANT AND HIS THREE DEPENDENTS (WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN) WERE AUTHORIZED VACATION TRAVEL FROM FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, TO BURLINGTON, NEW JERSEY, AND RETURN. TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIR WAS AUTHORIZED AS WELL AS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT 12 CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED COST BY COMMON CARRIER. THEY TRAVELED BY COMMERCIAL AIR FROM FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, TO PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, ON TICKETS SECURED BY GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IN THE AMOUNT OF $567.65, LEAVING ON MAY 30, 1968, AT 2:00 A.M. AND ARRIVING AT PHILADELPHIA AT 6:00 P.M. THE SAME DAY. THEY PROCEEDED TO BURLINGTON, NEW JERSEY, BY BUS (DISTANCE APPROXIMATELY 15 MILES) AT A COST OF $8.50 (2 FULL FARES, 2 HALF FARES). THE FOREGOING TOTAL TRANSPORTATION COSTS AMOUNTED TO $576.15.

THE RETURN TRIP WAS MADE BY AUTOMOBILE AND THE CLAIMANT SHOWS MILEAGE OF 4,950 MILES AT 12 CENTS PER MILE OR $594 PLUS FERRY COSTS OF $195 TOTALING $789. HE WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY ALLOWED MILEAGE IN THE AMOUNT OF $567.65 AS THAT SUM REPRESENTED THE PAYMENT TO THE CARRIER FOR THE CLASS OF ACCOMMODATIONS USED FROM FAIRBANKS TO PHILADELPHIA.

YOU POINT OUT THAT SECTION 3.5C (2) (A) PROVIDES THAT THE MILEAGE PAYMENT WILL NOT EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF COACH ACCOMMODATIONS (OR TOURIST OR ECONOMY ACCOMMODATIONS) IF A CARRIER USES THIS TERM INSTEAD OF "COACH ACCOMMODATIONS" ON AIRPLANES WHEN SUCH SERVICE IS PROVIDED BY A CARRIER. YOU SAY YOUR AGENCY HAS INCORPORATED THOSE PROVISIONS IN ITS ADMINISTRATIVE TRAVEL REGULATIONS. FURTHER, YOU REFER TO OUR DECISION B- 142174, APRIL 4, 1960 (39 COMP. GEN. 676), WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT THE FAMILY PLAN AIRLINE RATE WHEN AVAILABLE SHOULD BE USED IN COMPUTING THE CONSTRUCTIVE HOME LEAVE TRAVEL COSTS. BECAUSE OF THE LANGUAGE OF THE FOREGOING SECTION OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND OUR HOLDING IN THE ABOVE-CITED DECISION YOU HAVE DOUBTS AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING THE RECLAIM VOUCHER.

THE RECORD DOES NOT SHOW THE ACTUAL TIME OF DEPARTURE FROM PHILADELPHIA BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE. THERE IS INFORMATION THEREIN THAT FAMILY PLAN RATES EXISTED ON JUNE 24, 1968, AFTER 12 NOON, AND SUCH RATES WERE ADMINISTRATIVELY APPLIED. HOWEVER, WE HAVE ALSO ASCERTAINED HAT TOURIST SERVICE EXISTED ON THAT DATE FROM PHILADELPHIA VIA SEATTLE TO FAIRBANKS. THEREFORE, IF THE CLAIMANT AND HIS FAMILY ACTUALLY DEPARTED BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE BEFORE 12 NOON THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS MAY BE COMPUTED ON THE TOURIST RATE SINCE THAT SERVICE WAS AVAILABLE ON JUNE 24, 1968, AND THE VOUCHER UPON CORRECTION AS SHOWN ABOVE MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. THE DEPARTURE WAS AFTER 12 NOON THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION ALREADY TAKEN WAS PROPER AND THE VOUCHER SHOULD NOT BE CERTIFIED. 39 COMP. GEN. 676. YOUR QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.