B-63062, FEBRUARY 11, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 581

B-63062: Feb 11, 1947

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AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES NO LONGER IS NECESSARY. SUCH AN AUTHORIZATION IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION UNDER SAID REGULATIONS THAT THAT MODE OF TRAVEL IS "MORE ADVANTAGEOUS" TO THE GOVERNMENT. WHICH DETERMINATION ORDINARILY WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE. IT IS IMMATERIAL THAT THE TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 12 (A) (P) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. REQUIRING A DETERMINATION THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS IS "MORE ADVANTAGEOUS. 1947: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 13.

B-63062, FEBRUARY 11, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 581

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - COMMON CARRIER COST COMPARISON WHILE, UNDER SECTION 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS REVISED, AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES NO LONGER IS NECESSARY, SUCH TRAVEL MAY BE AUTHORIZED ADMINISTRATIVELY AT A SPECIFIED MILEAGE RATE, SUBJECT TO THE CONDITION THAT THE AMOUNT ALLOWED MAY NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER; AND SUCH AN AUTHORIZATION IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION UNDER SAID REGULATIONS THAT THAT MODE OF TRAVEL IS "MORE ADVANTAGEOUS" TO THE GOVERNMENT, UP TO BUT NOT EXCEEDING COMMON CARRIER COST, WHICH DETERMINATION ORDINARILY WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE. UNDER A TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS TO AND FROM A POINT SERVED BY BUS AND RAIL, PROVIDED THE COST DOES NOT EXCEED THAT FOR TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER, MILEAGE MAY NOT BE PAID IN AN AMOUNT EXCEEDING THE COST OF FIRST-CLASS ROUND-TRIP RAIL FARE (INCLUDING PULLMAN FARE) BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED, AND IT IS IMMATERIAL THAT THE TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 12 (A) (P) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS REVISED, REQUIRING A DETERMINATION THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS IS "MORE ADVANTAGEOUS," ONLY, AND NOT A SEPARATE DETERMINATION AS TO ECONOMY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO W. F. BLAKELY, WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION, FEBRUARY 11, 1947:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 13, 1947, FILE REFERENCE RTU:FAC-E:JDM:MPM, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ATTACHED SF-1012," VOUCHER FOR PER DIEM" * * * REPRESENTING A CLAIM BY LAWRENCE M. BAXTER, SALESMAN, WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION, TULSA, OKLAHOMA, HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR CERTIFICATION AND PAYMENT.

PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR A-7, DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1946, AND ITS RECEIPT IN THIS OFFICE ON DECEMBER 23, 1946, THE TRAVEL SECTION HAD ALLOWED COMMON CARRIER RATES ONLY, ON VOUCHERS SIMILAR TO THE INSTANT CASE.

IT IS TO BE EXPECTED THAT THE INTERPRETATIONS PLACED UPON CIRCULAR A-7, WILL BE VARIED AND CONTROVERSIAL ON THE QUESTION OF MILEAGE. IN THE LIGHT OF PAST DECISIONS 16:620, 15:153, AND 3:387, DISREGARDING THE ELEMENT OF ECONOMY, THE ADVANTAGE WOULD APPEAR QUESTIONABLE.

THE ATTACHED VOUCHER REFLECTS POINT TO POINT TRAVEL SERVICED BY RAIL AND MOTOR BUS AND IT DOES NOT APPEAR TO WARRANT CERTIFICATION, SINCE SUCH ACTION WOULD CONSTITUTE A COMPLETE REVERSAL OF MILEAGE POLICY.

FIRST CLASS RAIL FARE BETWEEN TULSA AND FT. SILL IS $10.30 FOR THE ROUND- TRIP, AND MOTOR BUS FARE FOR THE SAME JOURNEY IS $6.75. IF EITHER MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS CHOSEN, THE PER DIEM CLAIM IS EQUAL TO THAT REQUIRED BY PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL.

YOUR ASSISTANCE IS REQUESTED SINCE THE TRAVEL AS PERFORMED DOES NOT APPEAR TO FALL WITHIN THE MEANING OR INTENT OF "ADVANTAGE," AS STIPULATED IN BUDGET CIRCULAR A-7.

BY TRAVEL ORDER DATED DECEMBER 13, 1946, THE EMPLOYEE WAS DIRECTED TO PERFORM TRAVEL FROM HIS OFFICAL STATION, TULSA, OKLAHOMA, TO FORT SILL, OKLAHOMA, AND RETURN,"TO ASSIST WITH SALE OF SPECIAL OFFERING TUL 12 AT FT. SILL, OKLAHOMA, SALES LOCATION.' THE SAID ORDER AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER OR, AS ALTERNATE, BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS "PROVIDED THE COST DOES NOT EXCEED COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER" OR "PROVIDED TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER IS IMPRACTICABLE (IMPRACTICABILITY MUST BE SHOWN ON STATEMENTS SUPPORTING CLAIMS FOR AUTOMOBILE MILEAGE).' PURSUANT TO THE TERMS THEREOF, THE EMPLOYEE ELECTED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, DEPARTING FROM TULSA, OKLAHOMA, AT 2:30 P.M. ON DECEMBER 15, 1946, AND RETURNING TO THAT CITY AT 10 P.M. ON DECEMBER 18M 1946. THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER COVERS THE EMPLOYEE'S REQUEST FOR PAYMENT IN CONNECTION WITH SAID TRAVEL IN THE SUM OF $44.60, CONSISTING OF MILEAGE (472 MILES AT 5 CENTS PER MILE OR $23.60) PLUS PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR 3 1/2 DAYS AT $6 PER DAY ($21), AS AUTHORIZED BY HIS TRAVEL ORDERS.

IN DECISION OF DECEMBER 29, 1936, A-82196, 16 COMP. GEN. 620, CITED IN YOUR LETTER, IT WAS HELD THAT WHERE THE USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE COVERS TRAVEL ONLY FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS TO ANOTHER POINT AND RETURN FOR WHICH TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER COULD HAVE BEEN UTILIZED MORE ADVANTAGEOUSLY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT AT A REDUCED COST, APPROPRIATED FUNDS ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF MILEAGE IN AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT BY THE USUAL PUBLIC MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION.

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931 (5 U.S.C. 73A), AS AMENDED BY SECTION 3 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 807, PROVIDES, IN PART:

CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OR OTHERS RENDERING SERVICE TO THE GOVERNMENT SHALL, UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, AND UNLESS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THE APPROPRIATION CONCERNED OR OTHER LAW, AND WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, BE PAID IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION 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 OR AIRPLANES WHEN ENGAGED IN NECESSARY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL TRIPS FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY OR PLACES OF SERVICE * * *.

PARAGRAPH 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED, DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1946, AND RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE AS OF AUGUST 2, 1946, PROVIDES IN PART:

12 (A). MILEAGE BASIS.

(1). 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. * * *

UNDER THE AMENDED LAW AND REVISED REGULATIONS PROMULGATED PURSUANT THERETO, IT IS REQUIRED THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, BUT IT IS NO LONGER NECESSARY THAT A SEPARATE DETERMINATION BE MADE THAT SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES. HOWEVER, NOTWITHSTANDING THE ABOVE-QUOTED LAW AND REGULATIONS, IT IS WITHIN THE AUTHORITY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO AUTHORIZE TRAVEL AT A SPECIFIED MILEAGE RATE, SUBJECT TO THE CONDITION THAT THE AMOUNT ALLOWED MAY NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER. SUCH AN ORDER IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS A DETERMINATION BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE THAT THAT MODE OF TRAVEL IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT UP TO, BUT NOT EXCEEDING, THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED, AND THE DETERMINATION ORDINARILY WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 307, 308, 309.

ACCORDINGLY, AS REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE TRAVEL ORDER HERE INVOLVED IS LIMITED BY ITS SPECIFIC TERMS TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER--- IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING AS TO IMPRACTICABILITY OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER--- NO SUM MAY BE PAID TO THE TRAVELER IN EXCESS THEREOF, AND IT IS IMMATERIAL IN THAT CONNECTION THAT THE TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE REVISED REGULATIONS.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE ABOVE, AND AS THERE IS NO SHOWING AS TO THE IMPRACTICABILITY OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER, THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN EXCESS OF THE COST OF FIRST-CLASS ROUND TRIP RAIL FARE (INCLUDING PULLMAN FARE) FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN TULSA, OKLAHOMA, AND FORT SILL, OKLAHOMA, PLUS PER DIEM AS CLAIMED.