B-171575, FEB 2, 1971

B-171575: Feb 2, 1971

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CLAIMANT WAS AUTHORIZED ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON. KATZ: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 12. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOU WERE AUTHORIZED ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE BETWEEN WASHINGTON. YOU WERE REIMBURSED ON THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST BASIS OF TRAVEL BY AIRPLANE FROM NATIONAL AIRPORT. YOU WOULD HAVE TRAVELED FROM FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE YOU WERE PAID BY THE LEAST EXPENSIVE AIR TRANSPORTATION AVAILABLE AT THE TIME OF YOUR TRAVEL. YOU REQUEST RECONSIDERATION ON THE BASIS THAT YOU WERE ALLOWED CONSTRUCTIVE TAXICAB FARES BETWEEN YOUR HOME AND FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT AND. "(C) ONLY THE USE OF THE CARRIER CHARGING THE HIGHER RATE WILL PERMIT THE TRAVELER TO CARRY OUT HIS ASSIGNED MISSION ADEQUATELY.

B-171575, FEB 2, 1971

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - TRAVEL EXPENSES - TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENTS REAFFIRMING PRIOR DECISION DISALLOWING CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL $22 FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO A TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE. CLAIMANT WAS AUTHORIZED ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND MADISON, WISCONSIN, NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF AIRPLANE TRAVEL FROM NATIONAL AIRPORT, WASHINGTON AND CANNOT CLAIM REIMBURSEMENT ON THE BASIS OF COST OF FLYING FROM FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT, BALTIMORE; THE LEAST EXPENSIVE ROUTE OF TRAVEL MUST BE THE BASIS FOR PAYMENT.

TO MR. PAUL A. KATZ:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 12, 1970, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT OF $22 FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO A TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT DURING THE PERIOD NOVEMBER 11 TO 18, 1969, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOU WERE AUTHORIZED ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND MADISON, WISCONSIN, NOT TO EXCEED COST AND TRAVEL TIME BY COMMON CARRIER. YOU WERE REIMBURSED ON THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST BASIS OF TRAVEL BY AIRPLANE FROM NATIONAL AIRPORT, WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MADISON. YOU CLAIMED AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT OF $22 ON THE BASIS THAT, IF YOU HAD TRAVELED BY AIRPLANE, YOU WOULD HAVE TRAVELED FROM FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE YOU WERE PAID BY THE LEAST EXPENSIVE AIR TRANSPORTATION AVAILABLE AT THE TIME OF YOUR TRAVEL. YOU REQUEST RECONSIDERATION ON THE BASIS THAT YOU WERE ALLOWED CONSTRUCTIVE TAXICAB FARES BETWEEN YOUR HOME AND FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT AND, THEREFORE, SHOULD BE ALLOWED THE HIGHER ROUND TRIP FARE BETWEEN THAT AIRPORT AND MADISON IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF YOUR TRAVEL.

SECTION 3.6E, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"E RATES.- WHEN TWO OR MORE COMMON CARRIERS FURNISHING THE SAME MODE OF TRAVEL CHARGE DIFFERENT RATES BETWEEN THE SAME POINTS FOR THE SAME TYPE OF ACCOMMODATIONS, THE FACILITIES OF THE CARRIER CHARGING THE LOWER RATE SHOULD BE USED TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE UNLESS SUCH USE -

"(1) WOULD CONFLICT WITH SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936 (SEE SECTION 12.11), OR

"(2) WOULD BE INADVISABLE FOR SUCH REASONS AS THESE:

"(A) IT WOULD CAUSE INCREASES IN PER DIEM OR OTHER COSTS, WITH THE RESULT THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT GAIN BY USING THE LOWER-RATE TRANSPORTATION.

"(B) THE ROUTING OF THE CARRIER CHARGING THE LOWER RATE WOULD NOT MEET THE TRAVELER'S REQUIREMENTS TO MAKE OFFICIAL STOPS BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED.

"(C) ONLY THE USE OF THE CARRIER CHARGING THE HIGHER RATE WILL PERMIT THE TRAVELER TO CARRY OUT HIS ASSIGNED MISSION ADEQUATELY, EFFICIENTLY, AND WITHOUT UNDUE HARDSHIP OR INCONVENIENCE RESULTING FROM SUCH FACTORS AS LONGER TOTAL TRAVEL TIME OR ADDITIONAL TRANSFERS BETWEEN TERMINALS, TRAINS, BOATS, OR PLANES.

"NO FORMAL DETERMINATION OR DOCUMENTATION WITH RESPECT TO INDIVIDUAL TRIPS WILL BE REQUIRED UNDER THIS SUBSECTION."

DURING THE TIME OF YOUR TRAVEL DIRECT FLIGHTS BETWEEN NATIONAL AIRPORT AND MADISON WERE AVAILABLE WHEREAS THERE WERE ONLY CONNECTING FLIGHTS FROM FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT. THE ROUND-TRIP COST OF THE DIRECT FLIGHTS WAS $100 WHEREAS THE COST OF THE CONNECTING FLIGHTS WAS $120. THIS HAS BEEN VERIFIED FROM OFFICIAL TARIFFS.

YOUR AGENCY STATES THAT CONSTRUCTIVE TAXICAB FARES FROM YOUR HOME TO FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT WERE ALLOWED SINCE THEY WERE COMPARABLE TO THOSE FROM YOUR HOME TO NATIONAL AIRPORT. EXAMINATION OF AIRPLANE SCHEDULES DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION INDICATES THAT DIRECT FLIGHTS BETWEEN NATIONAL AIRPORT AND MADISON WERE AVAILABLE DURING THE SAME QUARTER DAYS AS THE CONNECTING FLIGHTS BETWEEN FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT AND MADISON, THAT TRAVELING BY DIRECT FLIGHTS WOULD NOT HAVE UNDULY INTERFERED WITH YOUR REST OR CAUSED YOU INCONVENIENCE, AND THAT THE DIRECT FLIGHTS WOULD HAVE PERMITTED YOU TO CARRY OUT YOUR ASSIGNMENT IN AN EFFICIENT MANNER. IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE AND SINCE YOUR ORDERS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FROM AND TO WASHINGTON, RATHER THAN FROM A SPECIFIED AIRPORT, THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM IS SUSTAINED.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR QUESTION ABOUT FURTHER APPEAL OF YOUR CLAIM WE POINT OUT THAT DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE ARE BINDING UPON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. AS TO MATTERS COGNIZABLE BY THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS AND THE UNITED STATES COURT OF CLAIMS, SEE 28 U.S.C. 1346 AND 1491.