B-35013, JUNE 22, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 1122

B-35013: Jun 22, 1943

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION - ROOMETTES WHERE IT IS SHOWN THAT DUE TO THE RESERVATION OF ALL STANDARD PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS FOR MILITARY USE DURING THE PRESENT EMERGENCY. ROOMETTES ARE THE LOWEST RATE FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS AVAILABLE TO CIVILIANS ON TRAINS OPERATING SLEEPING CARS BETWEEN PARTICULAR POINTS. 1943: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 5. PULLMAN ROOMETTE SLEEPER ACCOMMODATIONS WERE PURCHASED AND USED BOTH ON THE GOING TRIP. THE TRAIN USED WAS THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC LINES'" LARK. IS COMPRISED OF A STANDARD LOWER AND A STANDARD UPPER BERTH. WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED BOTH BY OUR SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE AND BY THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC LINES' REPRESENTATIVE AT NEW YORK THAT THE " LARKS" REGULARLY CARRY ONLY 6 SECTIONS.

B-35013, JUNE 22, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 1122

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION - ROOMETTES WHERE IT IS SHOWN THAT DUE TO THE RESERVATION OF ALL STANDARD PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS FOR MILITARY USE DURING THE PRESENT EMERGENCY, ROOMETTES ARE THE LOWEST RATE FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS AVAILABLE TO CIVILIANS ON TRAINS OPERATING SLEEPING CARS BETWEEN PARTICULAR POINTS, SO LONG AS SUCH CONDITION CONTINUES AND INSOFAR AS CONCERNS CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS BETWEEN SUCH POINTS, THE RATE FOR ROOMETTES PROPERLY MAY BE REGARDED AS "THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, LIMITING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS TO SUCH LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE. COMPARE DECISION B-35167, JULY 7, 1943, 23 COMP. GEN. 9.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO F. F. LOVELL, HOME OWNERS' LOAN COOPERATION, JUNE 22, 1943:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 5, 1943, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THE UNDERSIGNED AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER THE CLAIM OF MR. ALFRED P. SMITH FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSE INVOLVING THE USE OF ROOMETTE PULLMAN SLEEPER ACCOMMODATIONS.

MR. SMITH UNDER PROPER AUTHORITY DEPARTED FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, MARCH 4, 1943 AT 9:00 P.M., ARRIVING LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, MARCH 5, 1943 AT 9:00 A.M. AND AFTER COMPLETION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS AT SAN DIEGO AND LOS ANGELES DEPARTED LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA MARCH 6, 1943 AT :00 P.M., ARRIVING SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA MARCH 7 AT 9:00 A.M.

PULLMAN ROOMETTE SLEEPER ACCOMMODATIONS WERE PURCHASED AND USED BOTH ON THE GOING TRIP, SAN FRANCISCO TO LOS ANGELES, AND ON THE RETURN TRIP, LOS ANGELES TO SAN FRANCISCO, BECAUSE OF THE TRAVELER'S INABILITY TO SECURE LOWER CLASS SLEEPER ACCOMMODATIONS SUCH AS LOWER OR UPPER BERTH. THE TRAIN USED WAS THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC LINES'" LARK," NOS. 75 AND 76, THE PUBLISHED EQUIPMENT MANIFEST OF WHICH INDICATES THAT IT CARRIES DOUBLE BEDROOMS, ROOMETTES, DRAWING ROOMS, COMPARTMENTS AND SECTIONS. EACH SECTION, OF COURSE, IS COMPRISED OF A STANDARD LOWER AND A STANDARD UPPER BERTH. HOWEVER, WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED BOTH BY OUR SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE AND BY THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC LINES' REPRESENTATIVE AT NEW YORK THAT THE " LARKS" REGULARLY CARRY ONLY 6 SECTIONS, THAT IS,6 LOWER BERTHS AND 6 UPPER BERTHS, ALL OF WHICH ARE HELD FOR MILITARY USE, AND THAT ALL OTHER SLEEPER ACCOMMODATIONS ARE OF A HIGHER CLASS.

FROM EVERY POINT OF VIEW RESPECTING THE CONVENIENCE OF THE CORPORATION, THE CONSERVATION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S WORKING TIME, ECONOMY AS CONCERNS SALARY AND PER DIEM, EXPEDITIOUS CONDUCT OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS, ETC., THE " LARKS" AFFORD THE ONLY PRACTICABLE MEANS OF RAIL TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA AND LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. HENCE, THE SITUATION PRESENTED IN THE INSTANT CASE IS ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE CONDITIONS PREVAILING IN ALMOST EVERY INSTANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND LOS ANGELES.

PARAGRAPH 13 OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"13. ACCOMMODATIONS ON TRAINS AND STEAMERS.--- AN EMPLOYEE WILL BE ALLOWED THE FOLLOWING ACCOMMODATIONS ON TRAINS AND STEAMERS:

"/A) TRAIN ACCOMMODATIONS.--- (1) SLEEPING CAR ACCOMMODATIONS: ONE STANDARD LOWER BERTH WHEN NIGHT TRAVEL IS INVOLVED.'

THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC LINES'" LARK," ACCORDING TO THE BEST INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO US, CARRY NOT TO EXCEED 6 STANDARD PULLMAN SECTIONS, ALL OF WHICH ARE HELD FOR USE BY THE MILITARY FORCES. THUS, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES THE LOWEST CLASS SLEEPER ACCOMMODATIONS, ON THOSE TRAINS, WHICH ARE AVAILABLE TO CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ARE THE ROOMETTES.

AVAILABLE DECISIONS INDICATE THAT ALLOWANCES MAY NOT BE MADE FOR THE EXCESS COST OF HIGHER CLASS SLEEPER ACCOMMODATIONS OVER THE COST OF A STANDARD LOWER BERTH WHERE SUCH HIGHER CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE USED, EXCEPT IN THOSE INSTANCES WHERE THE EQUIPMENT MANIFEST OF A TRAIN (AS IN THE CASE OF EXTRA FARE TRAINS) INCLUDES ONLY HIGHER CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS.

YOUR CONSIDERATION OF THE INSTANT CLAIM WILL BE APPRECIATED AND YOUR DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF MY CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER IS REQUESTED.

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, PROVIDES:

WHENEVER BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL MAY BE ALLOWED TO OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, SUCH ALLOWANCES, IN THE CASE OF TRAVEL ORDERED AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT, SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

IN A DECISION OF DECEMBER 13, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 460, THERE WAS STATED THE GENERAL RULE, AS FOLLOWS (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THE LIMITATION IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, THAT ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL UNDER LAW AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED, IS ALL-INCLUSIVE AND PERMITS NO EXCEPTIONS FOR ANY CAUSE AND IS APPLICABLE EVEN THOUGH THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE AT THE TIME TRANSPORTATION IS APPLIED FOR. SEE, ALSO, 18 COMP. GEN. 705; 21 ID. 377, 380.

HOWEVER, THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION WHETHER THE FACTS PRESENTED IN THE INSTANT CASE JUSTIFY A CONCLUSION THAT THE RATE FOR THE ROOMETTE WAS IN FACT THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM YOUR SUBMISSION THAT THE ROOMETTES ARE THE LOWEST RATE FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS WHICH DURING THE PRESENT EMERGENCY, MAY BE OBTAINED BY CIVILIANS ON TRAINS OPERATING SLEEPING CARS BETWEEN THE POINTS HERE INVOLVED. IF THAT UNDERSTANDING BE CORRECT, IT SEEMS REASONABLE AND PROPER TO CONCLUDE THAT--- SO LONG AS SUCH CONDITION CONTINUES--- THE RATE FOR THE ROOMETTE PROPERLY MAY BE REGARDED AS THE "LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL," SO FAR AS CONCERNS CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS BETWEEN SAID POINTS. COMPARE 19 COMP. GEN. 682; DECISION B- 33575, DATED APRIL 14, 1943; AND B-33648, DATED APRIL 19, 1943.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT IF THE FACTS ARE AS ABOVE INDICATED, THE VOUCHER, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.