B-65236, MAY 2, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 843

B-65236: May 2, 1947

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AS FOLLOWS: THERE ARE ATTACHED TWO REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHERS PRESENTED TO ME FOR CERTIFICATION WHICH INVOLVE A QUESTION GROWING OUT OF THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 600. AS WILL BE NOTED. THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED WITHOUT PRIOR ISSUANCE OF A FORMAL LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION BUT HAS BEEN POST APPROVED PURSUANT TO AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 7. APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN COMPUTED IN STRICT ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS AMENDED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. THERE IS. IT WAS HELD THAT AN AUTHORIZED MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OR MOTORCYCLE WAS IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES.

B-65236, MAY 2, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 843

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - TAXICAB - TO AND FROM AIRPORT IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE AUTHORIZED UNDER PARAGRAPH 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS REVISED, FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE, THE COST OF TAXICAB FARES MAY BE REIMBURSED THE TRAVELER PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 8 (A) OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HIS HOME OR HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OR PLACE OF TEMPORARY DUTY AND THE AIRPORT FROM WHICH HE TAKES OFF OR ON WHICH HE LANDS AT DESTINATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THOMAS SMART, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, MAY 2, 1947:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 3, 1947, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE ARE ATTACHED TWO REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHERS PRESENTED TO ME FOR CERTIFICATION WHICH INVOLVE A QUESTION GROWING OUT OF THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 600, 79TH CONGRESS, APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946. AS WILL BE NOTED, THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED WITHOUT PRIOR ISSUANCE OF A FORMAL LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION BUT HAS BEEN POST APPROVED PURSUANT TO AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 7, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE AMOUNT OF REIMBURSEMENT CLAIMED FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE FROM RITTER, SOUTH CAROLINA TO COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND RETURN ON OCTOBER 31, 1946 AND NOVEMBER 8, 1946, APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN COMPUTED IN STRICT ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF 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. HENCE, NO DOUBT EXISTS AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THAT PORTION OF THE CLAIMS. THERE IS, HOWEVER, UNCERTAINTY CONCERNING THE PAYMENT OF TAXICAB FARES CLAIMED ON BOTH DATES FROM RESIDENCE TO AIRFIELD AND AIRFIELD TO RESIDENCE AT RITTER, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND AIRFIELD TO OFFICE AND OFFICE TO AIRFIELD AT COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 600, 79TH CONGRESS, SECTION 3 OF WHICH FURTHER AMENDED THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931 (5 U.S.C. 73A) AS AMENDED, IT WAS HELD THAT AN AUTHORIZED MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OR MOTORCYCLE WAS IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES. AS AMENDED THE LAW PROVIDES FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES, INCLUDING AIRPLANES, ON A MILEAGE BASIS WHEN AUTHORIZED OR SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED. IT ALSO PROVIDES IN THE CASE OF MOTORCYCLES AND AUTOMOBILES, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ACTUAL COST OF FERRY FARES AND BRIDGE ROAD AND TUNNEL TOLLS IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE. THE LAW IS, HOWEVER, SILENT WITH RESPECT TO INCIDENTAL EXPENSES, SUCH AS THOSE CLAIMED IN THE ATTACHED VOUCHERS, INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE. IT IS NOTED, MOREOVER, THAT PARAGRAPH 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS AMENDED SEPTEMBER 5, 1946, WHILE PROVIDING A METHOD OF COMPUTING AIRPLANE MILEAGE MAKES NO REFERENCE TO INCIDENTAL EXPENSE NOR WAS CHANGE MADE IN PARAGRAPH 8 (A) REGARDING THE POINTS TO AND FROM WHICH THE USE OF A TAXICAB IS PERMISSIBLE.

THE TRAVELER IN THESE CASES WAS PUT TO THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE OF TAXICAB FARES IN PERFORMING THE OFFICIAL TRAVEL. THIS WAS A NECESSARY EXPENSE SINCE THE AIRPLANE, LIKE THE TRAIN, CANNOT BE BOARDED AT THE OFFICE OR HOME. HENCE IT SEEMS THAT PARAGRAPH 8 (A) ALLOWING TAXICAB FARES SHOULD GOVERN RATHER THAN THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 12 (A) (1) WHICH FIT ONLY THE USE OF AUTOMOBILE OR MOTORCYCLE.

IN VIEW OF EXISTING UNCERTAINTY YOUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER I MAY PROPERLY CERTIFY THE ATTACHED VOUCHERS FOR PAYMENT WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

YOUR SUBMISSION CORRECTLY STATES THAT, PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 600, THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES WAS IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH USE AND EXCLUDED ANY ALLOWANCE FOR ROAD OR BRIDGE TOLLS OR FERRY FARES. 11 COMP. GEN. 164, 175; 15 ID. 76, 735; 22 ID. 572. HOWEVER, SECTION 3 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, 60 STAT. 807, FURTHER AMENDED THE FORMER ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS AMENDED, TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

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, OR 2 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES OR 4 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES WHEN USED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHOLLY WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS OR PLACES OF SERVICE. IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCES PROVIDED FOR IN THIS SECTION, THERE MAY BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ACTUAL COST OF FERRY FARES AND BRIDGE, ROAD, AND TUNNEL TOLLS.

IN PROMULGATING REGULATIONS UNDER THAT AMENDMENT, BUDGET CIRCULAR A 7 OF SEPTEMBER 5, 1946, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

* * * MILEAGE AT NOT TO EXCEED 2 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES OF 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 PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES OR AUTOMOBILES ARE USED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHOLLY WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE OFFICIAL STATION OR PLACE OF SERVICE, MILEAGE AT NOT TO EXCEED 2 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES SHALL BE PAID. IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCES THE MAY BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ACTUAL COST OF FERRY FARES AND BRIDGE, ROAD AND TUNNEL TOLLS. 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, OR IN ABSENCE OF THE REQUIRED INFORMATION THEREIN BY MEANS OF OTHER ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE. MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANES SHALL BE DETERMINED BY MULTIPLYING THE ACTUAL ELAPSED TIME IN THE AIR BY THE RATED CRUISING SPEED OF THE PARTICULAR AIRPLANE. ANY UNUSUAL CONDITIONS OR CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH INFLUENCE THE ELAPSED TIME IN THE AIR MUST BE EXPLAINED. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

WHILE APPLICATION OF THE ITALICIZED PORTION OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED REGULATION WOULD NOT BE DIFFICULT SO FAR AS THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES IS CONCERNED, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANES FOR TRAVEL CANNOT AS A GENERAL RULE BE STARTED DIRECTLY FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S HOME OR HEADQUARTERS OFFICE, BUT MUST BEGIN, GENERALLY, FROM AN AIRPORT, AND THE EMPLOYEE NECESSARILY MUST USE SOME OTHER FORM OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HOME OR OFFICE AND THE AIRPORT. THE REGULATIONS PROVIDE A METHOD FOR TH COMPUTATION OF MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF THE AIRPLANE BUT TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION ONLY THE ELAPSED TIME IN THE AIR, WHICH, OBVIOUSLY, WOULD NOT INCLUDE ANY TIME OCCUPIED IN TRANSIT PRIOR TO TAKING OFF FROM THE AIRPORT OR AFTER LEAVING THE AIRPORT AT DESTINATION. FURTHERMORE, THE MILEAGE RATE ALLOWABLE FOR AIRPLANE TRANSPORTATION IS SO LIMITED AS NOT TO RAISE ANY ASSUMPTION THAT IT WAS INTENDED TO COVER MORE THAN THE ACTUAL TRANSIT FOR WHICH THE AIRPLANE WAS UTILIZED. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT REASONABLY MAY BE CONCLUDED THAT THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HOME OR OFFICE OR TEMPORARY PLACE OF BUSINESS AND THE AIRPORT PROPERLY IS ALLOWABLE IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE PRESCRIBED FOR THE USE OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE.

PARAGRAPH 8 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

(A) 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.

IN DECISION OF FEBRUARY 17, 1947, B-62986, 26 COMP. GEN. 598, IT WAS HELD THAT A GARAGE USED FOR THE STORAGE OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILES CONSTITUTED AN "OTHER TERMINAL" AND AS THOSE WORDS ARE USED IN SAID REGULATIONS, THAT THE USE OF A TAXICAB TO AND FROM SUCH GARAGE BY AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING BY GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE WAS AUTHORIZED TO THE SAME EXTENT AS IN GOING TO OR FROM A RAIL TERMINAL. SEE, ALSO, 20 COMP. GEN. 315, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM SYLLABUS):

AN EMPLOYEE WITH OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WHO RESIDES OUTSIDE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ONLY FOR SUCH PART OF THE TAXICAB FARE AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF AN OFFICIAL TRIP, FROM, OR TO, HIS PLACE OF ABODE, TO OR FROM, UNION STATION, WASHINGTON, D.C., AS EQUALS THE ESTABLISHED MAXIMUM TAXICAB FARE BETWEEN ANY POINT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE UNION STATION, BUT SUCH AN EMPLOYEE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY AIR MAY BE REIMBURSED NOT TO EXCEED THE HIGHER MAXIMUM TAXICAB FARE ESTABLISHED FOR TRIPS BETWEEN POINTS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBUS AND THE WASHINGTON AIRPORT.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING DECISIONS, IT APPEARS REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THA AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AIRPLANE MAY BE REIMBURSED THE COST OF TAXICAB FARES BETWEEN HIS HOME OR HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OR PLACE OF TEMPORARY DUTY AND THE AIRPORT FROM WHICH HE TAKES OFF OR ON WHICH HE LANDS AT DESTINATION.

THE SUBMITTED VOUCHERS ARE RETURNED HEREWITH AND, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, THEY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT INCLUDING TAXICAB FARES TO AND FROM THE AIRPORTS NECESSITATED BY OFFICIAL TRAVEL.