B-54873, FEBRUARY 12, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 590

B-54873: Feb 12, 1946

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1946: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 29. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 2R-1583. IT HAS BEEN THE RULE THAT WHEN TRAVEL IS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS. REIMBURSEMENT FOR TOLL CHARGES IN ADDITION TO MILEAGE ALLOWANCE IS NOT AUTHORIZED. A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE TRAVELER IS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSE OF THE TOLL CHARGES IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE. IT IS THE SETTLED RULE THAT TOLL CHARGES MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED TO AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ON A MILEAGE BASIS IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE. 22 COMP. IN THE LAST CITED DECISION IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS).

B-54873, FEBRUARY 12, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 590

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - TUNNEL TOLLS THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR THE FEDERAL PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY PROVIDING FOR "REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ACTUAL COST OF * * * TUNNEL TOLLS" MAY BE REGARDED AS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT OF TUNNEL TOLLS IN ADDITION TO THE AUTHORIZED MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE; HOWEVER, MILEAGE, BEING A COMMUTATION OF ALL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, MAY NOT BE PAID FOR THE DISTANCE TRAVELED THROUGH TUNNELS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO J. L. JENKINS, NATIONAL HOUSING AGENCY, FEBRUARY 12, 1946:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 29, 1945, F AND A-JJK CA-2, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 2R-1583, IN FAVOR OF LORIMER C. GRAEF, WHICH INCLUDES, AS ITEMS OF EXPENSE INCURRED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE, HOLLAND TUNNEL TOLL CHARGES OF $1.00 AND QUEENS, MID-TOWN TUNNEL TOLL CHARGES OF $0.50.

THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946 (59 STAT. 124) PROVIDES THAT FUNDS OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR "REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ACTUAL COST OF FERRY FARES AND BRIDGE, ROAD, AND TUNNEL TOLLS.'

IT HAS BEEN THE RULE THAT WHEN TRAVEL IS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, AS PERMITTED BY PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, REIMBURSEMENT FOR TOLL CHARGES IN ADDITION TO MILEAGE ALLOWANCE IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE CITED PROVISION OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946, A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE TRAVELER IS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSE OF THE TOLL CHARGES IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE.

AS INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER, IT IS THE SETTLED RULE THAT TOLL CHARGES MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED TO AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ON A MILEAGE BASIS IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE. 22 COMP. GEN. 572; 15 ID. 819; 11 ID. 175. IN THE LAST CITED DECISION IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS), AS FOLLOWS:

THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, FOR THE USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S OWN AUTOMOBILE IS IN LIEU OF ALL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION AND PRECLUDES ANY ALLOWANCE FOR FERRY FARES IN ADDITION TO MILEAGE. THE MILEAGE IS TO BE COMPUTED OVER THE DISTANCE ACTUALLY TRAVELED, INCLUDING THE DISTANCE TRAVELED BY FERRIES, EVEN THOUGH SUCH DISTANCE IS NOT RECORDED UPON THE SPEEDOMETER OF THE AUTOMOBILE. COURSE, THE HOLDING IN THE ABOVE DECISION WITH RESPECT TO FERRY FARES IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO TUNNEL TOLLS.

HOWEVER, IT LONG HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED THAT WHERE AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELS ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, SUCH TOLLS PROPERLY ARE REIMBURSABLE AS ITEMS OF ACTUAL EXPENSE. MOREOVER, SEE SECTION 12 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AUTHORIZING, AMONG OTHER THINGS, REIMBURSEMENT OF ,BRIDGE, FERRY AND OTHER TOLLS.' IN VIEW THEREOF, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO NECESSITY FOR STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF TOLLS, SUCH AS THAT CONTAINED IN THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR THE FEDERAL PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY, SO FAR AS CONCERNS TRAVEL ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS; AND, SUCH BEING THE CASE, IT IS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT SAID AUTHORITY SPECIFICALLY WAS GRANTED IN ORDER TO OVERCOME THE RULE OF THE DECISIONS HEREINABOVE CITED. SINCE THERE IS NOTHING OTHERWISE IN THE TERMS OF THE SAID APPROPRIATION OR ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY TO INDICATE THAT THE REIMBURSEMENT AUTHORIZATION IN QUESTION WAS INTENDED TO BE RESTRICTED TO THOSE WHO TRAVEL ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, THE CONCLUSION IS WARRANTED THAT, BY VIRTUE OF THE STATUTORY PROVISION IN QUESTION, PAYMENT OF THE COST OF THE TOLLS SPECIFIED THEREIN PROPERLY MAY BE MADE WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED ON A MILEAGE BASIS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE. BUT SINCE, AS HERETOFORE INDICATED, IT IS FUNDAMENTAL THAT MILEAGE REPRESENTS A COMMUTATION OF ALL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION, PAYMENT FOR ANY MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THE DISTANCE TRAVELED THROUGH THE TUNNEL WOULD APPEAR IMPROPER AND INCONSISTENT WITH THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TOLLS. CF. 11 COMP. GEN. 175, SUPRA.

IT IS NOT KNOWN WHETHER THE MILEAGE CLAIMED ON THE VOUCHER COVERS THE DISTANCE TRAVELED THROUGH THE TUNNELS BUT IF IT DOES THE VOUCHER SHOULD NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT WITHOUT APPROPRIATE DEDUCTION THEREFOR CONFORMABLY WITH THE CONDITIONS JUST REFERRED TO. IN OTHER WORDS, THE VOUCHER, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS JUST STATED.