B-70609, JANUARY 20, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 382

B-70609: Jan 20, 1948

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WHO ARE DIRECTED TO PERFORM TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. ARE REQUIRED TO INCUR TAXICAB FARES IN EXCESS OF THE RATES APPLICABLE TO TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THEIR CONTROL. YOU POINT OUT THAT IT IS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS THAT TRANSPORTATION INCLUDES ALL NECESSARY OFFICIAL TRAVEL IN TAXICABS. THAT IT IS THE GENERALLY ACCEPTED RULE THAT THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS REFLECT A PURPOSE TO RELIEVE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES OF THE BURDEN OF BEARING THE EXPENSE OF ANY NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION COSTS INCIDENT TO OFFICIAL TRAVEL. THERE WAS CONSIDERED A FACTUAL SITUATION SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTICAL WITH THE STATE OF FACTS PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER AND IT WAS THEREIN HELD THAT WHILE.

B-70609, JANUARY 20, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 382

TRAVELING EXPENSES - TAXICAB FARES - EMPLOYEES RESIDING OUTSIDE LIMITS OF OFFICIAL STATION DESPITE THE CONGESTED LIVING CONDITIONS PREVAILING IN MANY URBAN AREAS, AS REFLECTED BY THE CURRENT HOUSING SHORTAGE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND OTHER CITIES, REQUIRING EMPLOYEES TO RESIDE IN GREATER METROPOLITAN AREAS OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS, REIMBURSEMENT MAY NOT BE MADE FOR TAXICAB FARES IN EXCESS OF THE RATES APPLICABLE TO TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF AN OFFICIAL STATION IN THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO DEPARTS FROM AND RETURNS TO HIS RESIDENCE LOCATED OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION BUT WITHIN ITS GREATER METROPOLITAN AREA. 20 COMP. GEN. 315, AMPLIFIED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, WAR ASSETS ADMINISTRATION, JANUARY 20, 1948:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 22, 1947 REFERENCE FAC-EF, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THIS OFFICE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT OF REASONABLE TAXICAB FARES NECESSARILY INCURRED BY DEPARTURE FROM AND RETURN TO RESIDENCES LOCATED IN THE GREATER METROPOLITAN AREAS OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION, IN CONGESTED AREAS, WHEN INCIDENT TO TRANSPORTATION AWAY FROM AND RETURN TO OFFICIAL STATION, ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND PURSUANT TO COMPETENT TRAVEL ORDERS.

YOU URGE THAT DUE TO THE GENERALLY CONGESTED LIVING CONDITIONS WHICH NOW PREVAIL IN MANY URBAN AREAS AS REFLECTED BY THE CURRENT ACUTE HOUSING SHORTAGES IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND CITIES SIMILARLY SITUATED, IT HAS BECOME NECESSARY FOR NUMEROUS EMPLOYEES TO RESIDE IN THE SUBURBS THEREOF AND THAT EMPLOYEES RESIDING IN THE GREATER METROPOLITAN AREAS BUT OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF AN OFFICIAL STATION, WHO ARE DIRECTED TO PERFORM TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, ARE REQUIRED TO INCUR TAXICAB FARES IN EXCESS OF THE RATES APPLICABLE TO TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THEIR CONTROL. ALSO, YOU POINT OUT THAT IT IS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS THAT TRANSPORTATION INCLUDES ALL NECESSARY OFFICIAL TRAVEL IN TAXICABS, AND THAT IT IS THE GENERALLY ACCEPTED RULE THAT THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS REFLECT A PURPOSE TO RELIEVE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES OF THE BURDEN OF BEARING THE EXPENSE OF ANY NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION COSTS INCIDENT TO OFFICIAL TRAVEL. YOU SUGGEST THAT IN ORDER TO KEEP PACE WITH CHANGING CONDITIONS, FOR TRAVEL PURPOSES, IT WOULD APPEAR DESIRABLE AND TIMELY TO ESTABLISH A BROAD INTERPRETATION OF THE TERM "OFFICIAL STATION.'

IN THE DECISION OF DECEMBER 16, 1940, B-13538, 20 COMP. GEN. 315, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, THERE WAS CONSIDERED A FACTUAL SITUATION SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTICAL WITH THE STATE OF FACTS PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER AND IT WAS THEREIN HELD THAT WHILE, AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, THE EMPLOYEE IS PERMITTED TO START HIS OFFICIAL TRIP FROM HIS HOME WHEN IT IS UNNECESSARY FOR HIM FIRST TO REPORT TO HIS OFFICE, THERE IS NO INTENTION MANIFESTED BY THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS OR OTHERWISE TO REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE EXCESS COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM HIS HOME LOCATED OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR THE DISTANCE TRAVELED OUTSIDE SUCH LIMITS, THAT BEING A PERSONAL EXPENSE HE IS REQUIRED TO BEAR, WHETHER REPORTING TO HIS OFFICE, OR WHETHER BEGINNING OR ENDING AN OFFICIAL TRIP AWAY FROM AN OFFICIAL STATION. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE POINTS ADVANCED IN YOUR LETTER FOR RELAXING THE RULE ENUNCIATED IN 20 COMP. GEN. 315, IS ONE OF DEGREE, NAMELY, THE GREATER INFLUX OF PERSONS TO CONGESTED AREAS, REQUIRING THE TAKING OF ABODE OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS. SUCH DIFFERENCE IN DEGREE, ONLY, CONSTITUTES NO PROPER GROUND FOR RELAXING THE RULE.

WHILE CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS SINCE THE RULE ON TAXICABS WAS ENUNCIATED, IT IS SIGNIFICANT TO NOTE THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS HAVE MADE NO CHANGES IN RESPECT OF DEFINING THE LIMITS ON AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. THAT FACT CLEARLY INDICATES OR SUGGESTS THE ADOPTION, BY IMPLICATION, OF THE RULE ALLUDED TO.

THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS CONSISTENTLY HAVE BEEN HELD TO HAVE THE FULL FORCE AND EFFECT OF LAW AND, ACCORDINGLY, MAY NOT BE ENLARGED BY CONSTRUCTION. TO ALLOW REIMBURSEMENT FOR TAXICAB FARES IN THE SITUATION PRESENTED WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO PUTTING WORDS IN THE REGULATIONS WHICH ARE NOT THERE AND WOULD EFFECTUATE AN AMENDMENT OF THE REGULATIONS. ANY AMENDMENT TO REGULATIONS OF THIS CHARACTER MAY BE MADE ONLY BY THE AUTHORITY WHICH ISSUED THEM. CF. 9 COMP. GEN. 311.

I HAVE TO ADVISE, THEREFORE, THAT NO COGENT REASONS HAVE BEEN ADVANCED WARRANTING ANY CHANGES IN THE RULE, SUPRA. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

WHILE HAVING NO BEARING UPON THE DECISION IN THIS CASE, IT MAY BE POINTED OUT THAT WITH RESPECT TO THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM, SUBURBS AND CERTAIN OTHER ADJACENT AREAS HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED AS PART OF THE METROPOLITAN AREA PRIMARILY FOR THE REASON THAT TRAVEL TO OR FROM SUCH POINTS ORDINARILY INVOLVES NO GREATER SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE THAN IS INCURRED IN REPORTING TO THE OFFICIAL STATION; ALSO, THAT WITH RESPECT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATIONS, THE TERM "OFFICIAL STATION" SPECIFICALLY IS DEFINED TO INCLUDE "ANY POINT FROM WHICH THE EMPLOYEE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL POST OF DUTY.'