B-64310, MARCH 20, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 693

B-64310: Mar 20, 1947

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SO THAT COMPARISON OF THE COST OF AIR TRAVEL WITH RAIL TRAVEL IS NOT NECESSARY WHERE A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE'S INFANT CHILDREN TRAVELED BY AIR TO HIS NEW STATION. EVEN THOUGH A CHARGE WAS MADE FOR THEIR TRANSPORTATION. WHEREAS NO CHARGE WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED IF TRAVEL HAD BEEN BY RAIL. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS ENCLOSED FOR CONSIDERATION A TRANSPORTATION VOUCHER FROM PENNSYLVANIA-1CENTRAL AIRLINES CORP. THREE FULL TICKETS WERE OBTAINED AT $4.25 EACH. AIRLINE TRAVEL FOR HIS FAMILY WAS AUTHORIZED ON TRAVEL ORDER NO. 3 530. WHILE TRAVEL VIA COMMERCIAL AIRLINES IS CONSIDERED TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER. PARTICULARLY INSOFAR AS CHILDREN UNDER FIVE ARE CONCERNED. IF ECONOMY WERE THE SOLE FACTOR.

B-64310, MARCH 20, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 693

TRANSPORTATION - DEPENDENTS - AIR TRAVEL - COMPARATIVE RAIL COSTS THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, RESPECTING THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OF A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE BY THE "MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE," WHEN CONSIDERED IN CONJUNCTION WITH PARAGRAPH 8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PLACING AIR TRAVEL ON THE SAME BASIS AS RAIL TRAVEL, MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS CONFINING TRAVEL TO ANY PARTICULAR MODE OF TRANSPORTATION, SO THAT COMPARISON OF THE COST OF AIR TRAVEL WITH RAIL TRAVEL IS NOT NECESSARY WHERE A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE'S INFANT CHILDREN TRAVELED BY AIR TO HIS NEW STATION, EVEN THOUGH A CHARGE WAS MADE FOR THEIR TRANSPORTATION, WHEREAS NO CHARGE WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED IF TRAVEL HAD BEEN BY RAIL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO E. FRIEDMAN, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, MARCH 20, 1947:

BY LETTER DATED MARCH 4, 1947, THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION FORWARDED HERE FOR CONSIDERATION YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 25, 1947, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS ENCLOSED FOR CONSIDERATION A TRANSPORTATION VOUCHER FROM PENNSYLVANIA-1CENTRAL AIRLINES CORP., WASHINGTON, D.C. ON WHICH ISLISTED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST CCA-92840, ISSUED NOVEMBER 12, 1946, FOR USE BY MRS. EDWARD B. VIEW AND TWO CHILDREN, AGES 2 1/2 AND 4 1/2 YEARS. THREE FULL TICKETS WERE OBTAINED AT $4.25 EACH, A TOTAL OF $12.75.

AIRLINE TRAVEL FOR HIS FAMILY WAS AUTHORIZED ON TRAVEL ORDER NO. 3 530, DATED AUGUST 16, 1946 (COPY ATTACHED) COVERING CHANGE OF OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS OF EDWARD B. VIEW, ASSISTANT AIRPORT TRAFFIC CONTROLLER, WHO ACCOMPLISHED HIS OWN TRANSFER FROM CLEVELAND, OHIO, TO DETROIT, MICH. AT NO EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT.

WHILE TRAVEL VIA COMMERCIAL AIRLINES IS CONSIDERED TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER, RAIL TRANSPORTATION GENERALLY COSTS LESS, PARTICULARLY INSOFAR AS CHILDREN UNDER FIVE ARE CONCERNED; CONSEQUENTLY, IF ECONOMY WERE THE SOLE FACTOR, THIS WOULD TEND TO PRECLUDE AUTHORIZATION OF AIRLINE TRAVEL FOR DEPENDENTS.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE ADULT FARE, FIRST CLASS, FROM CLEVELAND TO DETROIT IS $5.39 PLUS 90 CENTS FOR PARLOR CAR SEAT, A TOTAL OF $6.29 VIA RAIL AS COMPARED WITH $4.25 ADULT FARE VIA AIRLINE, A SAVING OF $1.14 IN TRANSPORTATION OF MRS. VIEW. FOR THE CHILDREN, HOWEVER, A COMPARISON OF THE TARIFFS REVEALS THE FOLLOWING:

AIRLINE: HALF FARE BETWEEN THE AGES OF TWO AND TWELVE; NO CHARGE

UNDER TWO.

RAILROAD: HALF FARE BETWEEN THE AGES OF FIVE AND TWELVE; NO

CHARGE UNDER FIVE.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805 PROVDES THAT "THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY THE MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE BETWEEN THE LAST OFFICIAL STATION AND THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION" AND IT HAS BEEN IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE PHRASE "MOST ECONOMICAL" IS TO BE INTERPRETED TO REFER ALSO THE THE MODE OF TRAVEL.

IF THE TERM "ECONOMICAL ROUTE" MEANS ONLY THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE BY ANY MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, I.E. AIRLINE OR TRAIN, IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER WOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO AUTHORIZE TRAVEL VIA AIR OR TRAIN AS LONG AS THE TRAVEL WAS DIRECT. IF, ON THE OTHER ND,"ECONOMICAL ROUTE" IS INTERPRETED TO CONFINE TRAVEL TO THE MOST ECONOMICAL MEANS, THEN THE CHEAPEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION WOULD HAVE TO BE AUTHORIZED AND THE EXCESS COST BORNE BY THE EMPLOYEE.

IT IS THEREFORE RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION OF "MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE.'

IN THIS INSTANCE, THE ADULT FARE VIA AIRLINE WAS ACTUALLY LESS THAN VIA RAILROAD BUT THE TWO CHILDREN, BOTH UNDER FIVE, COULD HAVE TRAVELLED FREE OF CHARGE VIA RAIL. IF THE INTERPRETATION OF THE PHRASE IS "CHEAPEST MEANS" MAY THE ATTACHED VOUCHER BE PAID ON THE BASIS OF ONE ADULT AND TWO HALF FARES DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE TRAVEL WAS AUTHORIZED VIA AIR UPON THE ASSUMPTION THAT ,ECONOMICAL ROUTE" MEANT "DIRECT ROUTE" AND THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED IN GOOD FAITH?

SECTION 3 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1946, ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, PUBLIC LAW 600, 79TH CONGRESS, 60 STAT. 806, AS CONTAINED IN 11 F.R. 13823, IS AS FOLLOWS:

TRANSPORATION EXPENSES OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY.--- THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OF AN EMPLOYEE SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THOSE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH RELATE TO TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING MILEAGE, AND SHALL BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931 (5 U.S.C. 73 (A) (, WHETHER THE TRAVEL ORIGINATES AT THE EMPLOYEE'S LAST OFFICIAL STATION OR AT SOME PREVIOUS PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND WHETHER THE POINT OF DESTINATION IS THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION OR SOME OTHER POINT SELECTED BY HIM, OR BOTH. THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY THE MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE BETWEEN THE LAST OFFICIAL STATION AND THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION.

THAT ORDER SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR OFFICIAL DUTY SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, TRAVEL BY AIRPLANE IS UPON THE SAME BASIS AS TRAVEL BY OTHER COMMON CARRIER AND NO COMPARISON OF COSTS IS ORDINARILY REQUIRED. SEE B-51022, AUGUST 28, 1945; B-62617, JANUARY 17, 1947.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, IT APPEARS THAT THE PROVISION IN SECTION 3 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805, SUPRA, LIMITING TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF AN EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY TO THE COST BY THE MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE BETWEEN THE LAST OFFICIAL STATION AND THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, WHEN CONSIDERED IN CONJUNCTION WITH PARAGRAPH 8 OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WAS NOT INTENDED TO CONFINE TRAVEL TO ANY PARTICULAR MODE OF TRANSPORTATION, BUT RATHER HAS REFERENCE TO THE MAXIMUM LIABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT WHEN THE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE, OR BETWEEN POINTS OTHER THAN THE OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATONS.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE INSTANT CASE, NO COMPARISON OF THE COST OF THE TRAVEL BY AIRPLANE WITH THE COST BY RAIL IS NECESSARY, REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT A CHARGE WAS MADE BY THE AIRLINE FOR THE EMPLOYEE'S CHILDREN, WHEREAS NO CHARGE WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED FOR THEM IF TRAVEL HAD BEEN ACCOMPLISHED BY RAIL.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.