B-62986, FEBRUARY 17, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 598

B-62986: Feb 17, 1947

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1947: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 27. THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN SUSPENDING SUCH ITEMS WAS BASED UPON DECISION DATED JUNE 11. WHEREIN IT WAS HELD. THE RULING OF THE ABOVE DECISION WAS APPLIED TO SIMILAR FACTUAL SITUATIONS. IN YOUR LETTER IT IS STATED: IT HAS BEEN THE LONG ESTABLISHED POLICY TO ALLOW THE SPECIAL AGENTS OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION TO CLAIM TAXI FARES BETWEEN THE CONTRACT GARAGE AND THEIR OFFICE OR RESIDENCE AS THE CASE MAY BE. THIS HAS BEEN DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE AGENTS HAVE TO TRANSPORT HEAVY EQUIPMENT. IT APPEARS THAT IN ONE CASE THE TRAVELER HAS CERTIFIED THAT THE TRAVEL BY TAXICAB WAS NECESSARY BY REASON OF HIS ARRIVAL IN CLEVELAND IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THE MORNING WHEN THE REGULAR INTERURBAN TRANSPORTATION TO HIS HOME WAS NOT AVAILABLE AND ALSO BY REASON OF THE FACT THAT HE WAS BURDENED WITH LUGGAGE.

B-62986, FEBRUARY 17, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 598

TAXICAB FARES BETWEEN RESIDENCE AND PLACE OF STORAGE OF GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE THE TERM "OTHER TERMINAL" AS USED IN PARAGRAPH 8 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TAXICAB FARES BETWEEN AN EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AND ,STATION, WHARF, OR OTHER TERMINAL,"INCLUDES CONTRACT GARAGES USED FOR THE STORAGE OF GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILES, SO THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE COMMENDED AND TERMINATED AT SUCH A GARAGE MAY BE REIMBURSED UNDER SAID PARAGRAPH FOR TAXICAB FARES INCURRED BETWEEN HIS RESIDENCE AND THE GARAGE. 25 COMP. GEN. 844, OVERRULED IN PART.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO W. R. GLAVIN, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, FEBRUARY 17, 1947:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 27, 1946, TRANSMITTED HERE BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY LETTER OF JANUARY 6, 1947, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOUR PROPERLY MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT TWO SUPPLEMENTAL VOUCHERS REPRESENTING RECLAIM OF ITEMS SUSPENDED FROM VOUCHERS ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED BY THE INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED.

THE ITEMS IN QUESTION APPEAR TO REPRESENT AMOUNTS PAID FOR TAXICAB FARES BY TWO SPECIAL AGENTS OF THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION BETWEEN THEIR PLACES OF ABODE AND A GARAGE USED FOR THE STORAGE OF GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILES, AND RETURN, INCIDENT TO THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY MEANS OF GOVERNMENT OWNED AUTOMOBILES. APPARENTLY, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN SUSPENDING SUCH ITEMS WAS BASED UPON DECISION DATED JUNE 11, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 844, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS.

GARAGES USED FOR THE STORAGE OF GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILES MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS INCLUDED WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE TERM "OTHER TERMINAL" AS USED IN PARAGRAPH 8 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TAXICAB FARES BETWEEN AN EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AND "STATION, WHARF, OR OTHER TERMINAL," AND, THEREFORE, AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE COMMENCED AND TERMINATED AT SUCH A GARAGE MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED UNDER SAID PARAGRAPH FOR TAXICAB FARES, INCURRED AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF THE TRIP, BETWEEN HIS RESIDENCE AND THE GARAGE.

IN A SUBSEQUENT DECISION OF OCTOBER 14, 1946, B-60450, TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, THE RULING OF THE ABOVE DECISION WAS APPLIED TO SIMILAR FACTUAL SITUATIONS.

IN YOUR LETTER IT IS STATED:

IT HAS BEEN THE LONG ESTABLISHED POLICY TO ALLOW THE SPECIAL AGENTS OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION TO CLAIM TAXI FARES BETWEEN THE CONTRACT GARAGE AND THEIR OFFICE OR RESIDENCE AS THE CASE MAY BE. THIS HAS BEEN DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE AGENTS HAVE TO TRANSPORT HEAVY EQUIPMENT, FIREARMS, AND OFFICIAL RECORDS WHICH CAN NOT BE LEFT IN THE CAR WHILE IN THE GARAGE AND WHICH CAN NOT BE CARRIED ON STREET CARS AND BUSES. THIS BUREAU DOES NOT PERMIT ITS PERSONNEL TO KEEP ITS AUTOMOTIVE EQUIPMENT AT THEIR RESIDENCES OVERNIGHT, PARTICULARLY IN VIEW OF THE EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT WHICH MUST NECESSARILY BE INSTALLED IN THESE AUTOMOBILES. THE BUREAU HAS ALWAYS ALLOWED TRANSPORTATION FROM RESIDENCES TO CONTRACT GARAGES AND VICE VERSA AND CONSIDERED THE CONTRACT GARAGE TO BE A TERMINAL.

MOREOVER, WITH RESPECT TO THE PARTICULAR VOUCHERS HERE INVOLVED, IT APPEARS THAT IN ONE CASE THE TRAVELER HAS CERTIFIED THAT THE TRAVEL BY TAXICAB WAS NECESSARY BY REASON OF HIS ARRIVAL IN CLEVELAND IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THE MORNING WHEN THE REGULAR INTERURBAN TRANSPORTATION TO HIS HOME WAS NOT AVAILABLE AND ALSO BY REASON OF THE FACT THAT HE WAS BURDENED WITH LUGGAGE. IN THE OTHER CASE, THE AGENT STATES THAT HE HAD "TRAVEL BAGS, GOVERNMENT CHARTS AND OTHER BULKY EQUIPMENT" AND THAT HE TOOK A TAXICAB FROM HIS HOME IN WASHINGTON, D.C., TO THE CONTRACT GARAGE TO SECURE A GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE TO DEPARTMENT FOR AN INACCESSIBLE POINT. THE LATTER CASE WOULD APPEAR TO COME WITHIN THE RULE LAID DOWN IN 21 COMP. GEN. 1093, TO THE EFFECT THAT WHERE AN ACTUAL GOVERNMENT NEED IS AFFIRMATIVELY ESTABLISHED, SUCH AS IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF HEAVY EQUIPMENT NECESSARY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF GOVERNMENT WORK, TAXICAB FARES MAY BE REGARDED AS AN ITEM OF SPECIAL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE, AND THUS, AUTHORIZED BY PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. HOWEVER, SINCE THE MERE FACT OF HAVING PERSONAL LUGGAGE COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS ESTABLISHING A " GOVERNMENT NEED" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ABOVE RULE, IT WOULD APPEAR NECESSARY AT THIS TIME TO RECONSIDER THE HOLDING OF THE SAID DECISION OF JUNE 11, 1946, WITH A VIEW TO DETERMINING WHETHER THE CONSTRUCTION THERE PLACED UPON PARAGRAPH 8 (A) OF THE REGULATIONS IS REQUIRED.

SAID PARAGRAPH 8 (A), CONTAINED IN THE REGULATIONS UNDER THE GENERAL HEAD " TRANSPORTATION," PROVIDES:

THE USUAL TAXICAB FARES FROM STATION, WHARF, OR OTHER TERMINAL TO EITHER PLACE OF ABODE OR PLACE OF BUSINESS, AND FROM EITHER PLACE OF ABODE OR PLACE OF BUSINESS TO STATION, WHARF, OR OTHER TERMINAL WILL BE ALLOWED.

THE DECISION OF JUNE 11, 1946, WAS BASED UPON THE RULE OF EJUSDEM GENERIS, UNDER WHICH GENERAL WORDS IN A STATUTE OR REGULATION FOLLOWING AN ENUMERATION OF SPECIFIC THINGS USUALLY ARE RESTRICTED TO THINGS OF THE SAME KIND OR CHARACTER AS THOSE SPECIFIED. IT WAS REASONED THAT SINCE THE SPECIFIC TERMS "STATION" AND "WHARF" WERE COMMON CARRIER TERMINALS, THE GENERAL TERM "OTHER TERMINALS" WOULD HAVE TO BE REGARDED AS LIMITED TO TERMINALS OF LIKE CHARACTER AND, THEREFORE, AS NOT COMPREHENDING CONTRACT GARAGES USED FOR THE STORAGE OF GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILES. HOWEVER, FURTHER REFLECTION UPON THE MATTER LEADS ME TO BELIEVE THAT APPLICATION OF THE SAID DOCTRINE TO THE SUBJECT PROVISION NOT ONLY GIVES IT A STRAINED AND NARROW MEANING BUT THAT THE CONSTRUCTION SO ATTAINED WOULD PRODUCE ABSURD RESULTS IN SITUATIONS WHICH COULD NOT BE DISTINGUISHED ON THE FACTS.

FOR INSTANCE, AT THE PRESENT TIME SEVERAL DEPARTMENTS HAVE GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT. IS IT TO BE HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING BY SUCH A CONVEYANCE MAY BE REIMBURSED TAXICAB FARES WHERE THE TERMINUS OF HIS TRIP IS AT AN AIRPORT REGULARLY USED BY COMMERCIAL AIRLINES--- IN OTHER WORDS, A ,COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL"--- BUT THAT HE MAY NOT BE PAID FOR SUCH EXPENSE WHERE, FOR REASONS OF ECONOMY OR CONVENIENCE, THE DEPARTMENT HAS DIRECTED THAT A PRIVATE AIRFIELD OR AN ARMY OR NAVY AIRFIELD BE USED FOR LANDINGS, STORAGE AND TAKE-OFFS? OR WAS THE PROVISION INTENDED TO BE APPLIED SO STRICTLY AS TO DENY REIMBURSEMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO CHOSE TO ALIGHT OR BOARD A BUS AT A POINT WITHIN A CITY OTHER THAN AT THE BUS TERMINAL, EVEN THOUGH SUCH POINT WERE NEARER TO HIS ULTIMATE DESTINATION THAN THE TERMINAL? THESE SITUATIONS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES AS ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE ILLOGICAL RESULTS WHICH COULD BE EXPECTED TO FLOW FROM TOO NARROW A CONSTRUCTION OF THE LANGUAGE OF SAID SECTION 8 (A).

IT IS QUITE NATURAL THAT SPECIFIC MENTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE IN SAID SECTION OF "STATION" AND "WHARF," THE USUAL MODE OF TRAVEL BETWEEN CITIES BEING BY TRAIN OR BOAT. HOWEVER, IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE ENTIRE PHRASE "STATION, WHARF, OR OTHER TERMINAL" WAS USED IN A DESCRIPTIVE RATHER THAN A RESTRICTIVE SENSE AND THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE SECTION GENERALLY WAS TO ALLOW AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS TO TRAVEL BY TAXICAB AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BETWEEN HIS POINT OF ARRIVAL OR DEPARTURE IN A CITY AND HIS HOME, HOTEL, OR PLACE OF BUSINESS. THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WERE ISSUED FOR THE GUIDANCE OF ALL OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND THEY CLEARLY INDICATE A PURPOSE TO RELIEVE SUCH OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE BURDEN OF BEARING THE EXPENSE OF ANY NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION COSTS INCIDENT TO SUCH TRAVEL. HENCE, ANY DOUBT THERE MAY BE AS TO THE MEANING OF PARTICULAR LANGUAGE CONTAINED IN THE REGULATIONS SHOULD BE RESOLVED SO AS TO GIVE EFFECT TO SUCH OVERALL PURPOSE IF REASONABLY POSSIBLE, RATHER THAN BY APPLYING TO SUCH LANGUAGE TECHNICAL AND LEGALISTIC MAXIMS AND RULES OF CONSTRUCTION TO DEFEAT THAT PURPOSE.

ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THE HOLDING OF THE SAID DECISION OF JUNE 11, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 844, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE TERM "OTHER TERMINAL" IN SECTION 8 (A) OF THE REGULATIONS DOES NOT INCLUDE A CONTRACT GARAGE USED FOR THE STORAGE OF GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILES NEED NO LONGER BE FOLLOWED, AND THAT, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE INVOLVED, THE SUBJECT VOUCHERS MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.