B-62220, JANUARY 8, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 463

B-62220: Jan 8, 1947

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- IT NO LONGER BEING REQUIRED THAT A DETERMINATION BE MADE THAT SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL/IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES. - GENERALLY WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE. UNLESS IT CLEARLY APPEARS THAT SUCH DETERMINATION IS AT VARIANCE WITH THE REPORTED FACTS IN A PARTICULAR CASE. SPECIFIES THAT ECONOMY WAS A PRINCIPAL FACTOR CONSIDERED IN AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS. WHERE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FOR THE ACTUAL TRAVEL TIME OF AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING WITH HIS WIFE BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS ON CHANGE OF STATION IS USED MERELY TO DETERMINE THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT ALLOWABLE FOR TRANSPORTING BOTH THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE.

B-62220, JANUARY 8, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 463

MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES; ETC. UNDER THE PROVISION OF SECTION 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS REVISED, RELATING TO MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, PAYMENT MAY NOT BE MADE FOR MILEAGE IN EXCESS OF THAT SHOWN ON MILEAGE TABLES AS THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE AUTHORIZED POINTS OF TRAVEL, IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EXPLANATION AS TO THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY FOR TRAVELING THE LONGER DISTANCE. AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE WITH RESPECT TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES ON A MILEAGE BASIS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS REVISED--- IT NO LONGER BEING REQUIRED THAT A DETERMINATION BE MADE THAT SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL/IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES--- GENERALLY WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE, UNLESS IT CLEARLY APPEARS THAT SUCH DETERMINATION IS AT VARIANCE WITH THE REPORTED FACTS IN A PARTICULAR CASE. WHERE AN EMPLOYEE'S CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDER, AUTHORIZING TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, SPECIFIES THAT ECONOMY WAS A PRINCIPAL FACTOR CONSIDERED IN AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, BUT DOES NOT LIMIT THE DETERMINATION OF ECONOMY TO A CONSIDERATION OF MILEAGE ALONE, THERE MAY BE REIMBURSED, UNDER SECTION 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS REVISED, AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE TOTAL AUTHORIZED MILEAGE AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE TRAVEL TIME BY AUTOMOBILE, NOT IN EXCESS OF THE TOTAL COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER OF THE EMPLOYEE (INCLUDING PER DIEM) AND HIS WIFE OFFICIALLY TRAVELING IN THE AUTOMOBILE. WHERE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FOR THE ACTUAL TRAVEL TIME OF AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING WITH HIS WIFE BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS ON CHANGE OF STATION IS USED MERELY TO DETERMINE THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT ALLOWABLE FOR TRANSPORTING BOTH THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE, BY COMPARISON WITH COST BY COMMON CARRIER, THE CHARGING OF ANNUAL LEAVE FOR THE TRAVEL TIME IN EXCESS OF THAT BY COMMON CARRIER--- A MATTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATION--- WOULD NOT BE IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE PROHIBITION IN SECTION 45 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AGAINST ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM DURING A PERIOD OF LEAVE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO BEN A. GUDERIAN, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 8, 1947:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 18, 1946, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ATTACHED BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 7819 IN FAVOR OF WILLIAM R. VAN DERSAL, IN THE AMOUNT OF $14.72, HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO ME FOR CERTIFICATION.

THIS VOUCHER COVERS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR PER DIEM AND MILEAGE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN CONNECTION WITH A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS FROM WASHINGTON, D.C. TO PORTLAND, OREGON, AS AUTHORIZED BY AUTHORIZATION NO. 379-47. THIS AUTHORIZATION ALSO AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY. CERTIFIED TRUE AND CORRECT COPY OF THE AUTHORIZATION IS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER.

THE TRAVELER HAS CLAIMED MILEAGE TOTALING $152.75 FOR 3,055 MILES AT FIVE CENTS PER MILE AND PER DIEM TOTALING $48.60 FOR 9 DAYS AT $5.40 PER DAY, RESULTING IN A TOTAL CLAIM OF $201.35. FROM THIS AMOUNT THE TRAVELER HAS DEDUCTED $186.63, THE EXCESS COST OF TRANSPORTING HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN CONNECTION WITH HIS TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION, LEAVING A NET CLAIM OF $14.72. A COPY OF THE COLLECTION LETTER COVERING THIS EXCESS COST IS ATTACHED.

PARAGRAPH 1 (A) OF AUTHORIZATION NO. 379-47 AUTHORIZES FIVE CENTS PER MILE IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER TRANSPORTATION COSTS, PROVIDED THAT SUCH ALLOWANCE PLUS PER DIEM SHALL NOT EXCEED COST OF TRAVEL BY FIRST-CLASS RAIL PLUS PULLMAN PLUS PER DIEM CHARGES THT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED IF COMMON CARRIER HAD BEEN USED. PARAGRAPH 1 (B) OF THIS AUTHORIZATION AUTHORIZES FIVE CENTS PER MILE IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER TRANSPORTATION COSTS; SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES, IF ACCOMPANIED BY FAMILY; IF FAMILY DOES NOT ACCOMPANY YOU 1 (A) WILL APPLY.

PARAGRAPH 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS AMENDED SEPTEMBER 5, 1946 BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED READS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"UNLESS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THE APPROPRIATION CONCERNED OR OTHER LAW, CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OR OTHERS RENDERING SERVICE TO THE GOVERNMENT, REGARDLESS OF SUBSISTENCE STATUS AND HOURS OF TRAVEL, SHALL BE PAID MILEAGE IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES, AUTOMOBILES OR AIRPLANES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED (OR SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED) AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. IN DETERMINING WHETHER SUCH TRANSPORTATION IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO THE ADVANTAGES RESULTING FROM THE MORE EXPEDITIOUS TRANSACTION OF THE PUBLIC BUSINESS AS WELL AS OTHER ADVANTAGES AND/OR DISADVANTAGES TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE PARTICULAR CASE. MILEAGE AT NOT TO EXCEED 2 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES OR 5 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES AND AIRPLANES SHALL BE PAID FOR NECESSARY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL TRIPS FROM DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY OR PLACES OF SERVICE. IN SUCH CASES THE MILEAGE RATES AS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED SHALL BE PAID FROM WHATEVER POINT INCLUDED WITHIN HIS HEADQUARTERS THE EMPLOYEE OR OTHER PERSON RENDERING SERVICE TO THE GOVERNMENT BEGINS HIS JOURNEY * * * WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY A PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLE OR AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, PLACES BETWEEN WHICH THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED AND METER READINGS REPRESENTING THE DISTANCES TRAVELED MUST BE SHOWN IN THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT, WHICH WILL BE ACCEPTED AS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE CORRECTNESS OF SUCH DISTANCES, SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION BY MEANS OF OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES, ( ITALICS SUPPLIED) OR IN ABSENCE OF THE REQUIRED INFORMATION THEREIN BY MEANS OF OTHER ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE * * *"

IN 18 COMP. GEN. 755 IT WAS HELD THAT WHEN THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S OWN AUTOMOBILE IS AUTHORIZED ON A MILEAGE BASIS AND THERE IS INVOLVED ONLY TRAVEL BETWEEN TWO SPECIFIC POINTS ADEQUATELY SERVED BY COMMON CARRIER, REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL INVOLVED MUST BE CONFINED TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST HAD TRAVEL BEEN PERFORMED BY COMMON CARRIER, WITH THE EXCESS TRAVEL TIME CHARGED AS ANNUAL LEAVE OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY.

IN THIS CASE THE TRAVELER HAS CLAIMED MILEAGE OF 3,055 MILES WHEREAS THE RAND MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE LISTS THE MILEAGE BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND PORTLAND OREGON AS 2,866. HE ALSO CLAIMED 9 DAYS PER DIEM WHEREAS IF COMMON CARRIER HAD BEEN USED HE COULD HAVE LEFT WASHINGTON, D.C. AT 5:30 P.M., OCTOBER 7, ARRIVING IN PORTLAND, OREGON AT 5:30 P.M., OCTOBER 10, WHICH WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN A CLAIM OF ONLY 3 1/4 DAYS PER DIEM. THE EMPLOYEE'S WIFE ACCOMPANIED HIM, THEREFORE THE COMPARATIVE COST BY RAIL WOULD BE COMPUTED AS FOLLOWS: TWO ONE-WAY, FIRST- CLASS FARES FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.

TO PORTLAND, OREGON AT $94.61 -------------------------- $189.22 TWO LOWER STANDARD PULLMAN BERTHS AT $23.75 --------------- 47.50 THREE AND ONE-QUARTER DAYS PER DIEM AT $5.40 ---------------- 17.55

TOTAL COST BY RAIL ---------------------------- $254.27 TOTAL COST BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE -------------------- $201.35

TRAVEL AS PERFORMED THUS SHOWS A TOTAL SAVINGS OF $52.92 AS COMPARED TO TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER.

DECISION 18 COMP. GEN. 755 DOES NOT SEEM TO BE APPLICABLE IN THIS CASE SINCE IT APPEARS TO RELATE ONLY TO CASES WHERE THE COST OF MILEAGE PLUS PER DIEM EXCEEDED THE COST OF COMMON CARRIER PLUS PER DIEM.

CONSIDERATION HAS ALSO BEEN GIVEN TO DECISION A-44500, DATED NOVEMBER 10, 1932, WHICH GIVES AN INDICATION THAT A TRAVELER IS ENTITLED TO MILEAGE PLUS PER DIEM FOR TIME ACTUALLY CONSUMED BY THE TRAVEL PROVIDED THE TOTAL EXPENSE IS LESS THAN THE TOTAL THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY RAIL.

I AM IN DOUBT AS TO THE APPLICABILITY OF THE ABOVE REFERENCED DECISIONS AND REVISED TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND THEREFORE REQUEST YOUR DECISION ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS SO THAT I MAY CERTIFY THE ACCOUNT IN THE CORRECT AMOUNT.

1. MAY REIMBURSEMENT BE ALLOWED FOR THE TOTAL MILEAGE CLAIMED OR MUST IT BE LIMITED TO 2866 MILES AS SHOWN IN THE RAND MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 12 (A) (1) OF THE GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS?

2. SINCE THE COST OF TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS LESS THAN BY COMMON CARRIER, MAY REIMBURSEMENT BE ALLOWED FOR THE 9 DAYS PER DIEM CLAIMED WHICH APPARENTLY REPRESENTS A REASONABLE DRIVING TIME OR MUST SUCH CLAIM BE LIMITED TO TRAVEL TIME REQUIRED BY COMMON CARRIER? IN EITHER CASE MUST THE EXCESS TRAVEL TIME BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BE CHARGED TO ANNUAL LEAVE OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY AS REQUIRED BY 18 COMP. GEN. 755? IT IS NECESSARY TO CHARGE THE EXCESS TRAVEL TIME TO ANNUAL LEAVE OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY IT WOULD APPEAR TO BE IN CONTRAVENTION OF PARAGRAPH 45 (A) TO ALLOW PER DIEM REIMBURSEMENT IN EXCESS OF THE COMMON CARRIER TIME SINCE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE MAY NOT BE ALLOWED WHILE IN LEAVE STATUS EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF FRACTIONAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE WHOLLY WITHIN A DAY WHERE LEAVE FOR HALF OF THE PRESCRIBED WORKING HOURS OR LESS, WILL BE DISREGARDED FOR SUBSISTENCE PURPOSES.

IN CASES INVOLVING AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES ON A MILEAGE BASIS, THE PROVISION OF SECTION 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS REVISED, THAT METER READINGS WILL BE ACCEPTED AS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE CORRECTNESS OF THE DISTANCE TRAVELED "SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION BY MEANS OF OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES" SERVES MERELY TO INCORPORATE IN THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS A RULE LONG RECOGNIZED BY THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE. IN THAT CONNECTION SEE DECISION OF APRIL 11, 1946, B-55427, AND THE DECISIONS CITED THEREIN.

ALTHOUGH, UNDER THE RULE STATED IN THE ABOVE-CITED DECISION, NO AUTHORITY EXISTS FOR THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE UNREASONABLY IN EXCESS OF THAT SHOWN BY STANDARD MILEAGE TABLES, THE REVISED TRAVEL REGULATIONS (SECTION 12 (A) (1) ( CONTAIN NO SUCH QUALIFICATION, AND THE MILEAGE REIMBURSABLE THEREUNDER MAY NOT EXCEED THAT SHOWN ON THE MILEAGE TABLES BETWEEN THE AUTHORIZED POINTS OF TRAVEL, IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC SHOWING AS TO ACTUAL OFFICIAL NECESSITY FOR TRAVELING THE LONGER DISTANCE. ACCORDINGLY, IN ANSWER TO QUESTION NO. 1, PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER, AS NO EXPLANATION APPEARS ON THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER IN RESPECT OF THE EXCESS MILEAGE, PAYMENT THEREON PROPERLY SHOULD BE LIMITED TO 2,866 MILES, AS SHOWN BY THE RAND- MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE.

SECTION 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS REVISED, PROVIDES FOR THE PAYMENT OF "MILEAGE IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES, AUTOMOBILES OR AIRPLANES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED (OR SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED) AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT" (ITALICS SUPPLIED), AND IT NO LONGER IS REQUIRED THAT A DETERMINATION BE MADE THAT SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES. ACCORDINGLY, WITH RESPECT TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE, AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED PURSUANT TO THE REVISED REGULATIONS, AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE GENERALLY WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE, UNLESS IT CLEARLY APPEARS THAT SUCH DETERMINATION IS AT VARIANCE WITH THE REPORTED FACTS IN A PARTICULAR CASE. HOWEVER, SINCE THE TRAVEL ORDER IN THE INSTANT CASE SPECIFIES THAT ECONOMY WAS A PRINCIPAL FACTOR CONSIDERED IN AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, AND SINCE SUCH ORDER DOES NOT LIMIT THE DETERMINATION OF ECONOMY TO A CONSIDERATION OF MILEAGE ALONE (CF. B-55427, SUPRA), THIS OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT IN THIS INSTANCE OF AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE TOTAL AUTHORIZED MILEAGE AND PER DIEM, NOT IN EXCESS OF THE TOTAL COST BY COMMON CARRIER OF ALL PERSONS OFFICIALLY TRAVELING IN THE VEHICLE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT CLAIMED, LESS THE AMOUNT PROPERLY DEDUCTIBLE FOR EXCESS MILEAGE. THE FIRST PART OF QUESTION NO. 2 IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

WITH REGARD TO THE SECOND PART OF QUESTION NO. 2, THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR ACTUAL TRAVEL TIME BY AUTOMOBILE IN THE INSTANT CASE (9 DAYS) WAS USED MERELY TO DETERMINE THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT ALLOWABLE FOR TRANSPORTING BOTH THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS DEPENDENTS, PURSUANT TO THE TERMS OF THE TRAVEL ORDER, AND IN SUCH CASES THE CHARGING OF ANNUAL LEAVE FOR THE EXCESS TRAVEL TIME INVOLVED WOULD NOT CONTRAVENE SECTION 45 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS, AS SUGGESTED IN YOUR LETTER. HOWEVER, IT SHOULD NOT BE OVERLOOKED THAT THE CHARGING OF ANNUAL LEAVE IS A MATTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATION AND, UNDER THE RECITED CIRCUMSTANCES, ACTION IN THAT RESPECT DOUBTLESS WOULD DEPEND UPON THE DEGREE OF ADVANTAGE WHICH ACCRUED TO THE UNITED STATES BY REASON OF THE MODE OF TRAVEL USED.