B-7973, JANUARY 29, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 682

B-7973: Jan 29, 1940

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST CLASS - ROOMETTES ON EXTRA FARE TRAINS WHERE CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR USE OF A ROOMETTE ON AN EXTRA-FARE TRAIN IS SUPPORTED BY PROPER EVIDENCE THAT THE USE OF SUCH TRAIN WAS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN STRICT ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 15 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IT IS ESTABLISHED THAT THE PULLMAN CARS ON SAID TRAINS WERE NOT EQUIPPED WITH ACCOMMODATIONS FOR WHICH A LOWER CHARGE IS MADE THAN FOR THE ACCOMMODATION ACTUALLY USED. PAYMENT OF THE CHARGE FOR THE ACCOMMODATIONS ACTUALLY USED WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED AS VIOLATING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. 1940: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 9. THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS SUBMITTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION AND ADVICE.

B-7973, JANUARY 29, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 682

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST CLASS - ROOMETTES ON EXTRA FARE TRAINS WHERE CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR USE OF A ROOMETTE ON AN EXTRA-FARE TRAIN IS SUPPORTED BY PROPER EVIDENCE THAT THE USE OF SUCH TRAIN WAS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN STRICT ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 15 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED, AND IT IS ESTABLISHED THAT THE PULLMAN CARS ON SAID TRAINS WERE NOT EQUIPPED WITH ACCOMMODATIONS FOR WHICH A LOWER CHARGE IS MADE THAN FOR THE ACCOMMODATION ACTUALLY USED, PAYMENT OF THE CHARGE FOR THE ACCOMMODATIONS ACTUALLY USED WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED AS VIOLATING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, REQUIRING THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ,SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST -CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED.'

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 29, 1940:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 9, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

AS THE RESULT OF A SITUATION CONFRONTING OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THIS DEPARTMENT WHEN CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHERE AT LEAST A PORTION OF SUCH TRAVEL EXPENSES RESULTED FROM THE USE OF AN EXTRA-FARE TRAIN, THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS SUBMITTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION AND ADVICE.

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, PROVIDES:

"WHENEVER BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL MAY BE ALLOWED TO OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, SUCH ALLOWANCES, IN THE CASE OF TRAVEL ORDERED AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT, SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL.'

THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUDGET IN BUDGET BUREAU CIRCULAR NO. 348, DATED JULY 18, 1939, TO THE HEADS OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS, ESTABLISHMENTS, AND AGENCIES, ADVISED THAT SECTION 15 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WAS AMENDED AS FOLLOWS:

"TRAVEL ON EXTRA-FARE TRAINS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF ANY DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR AGENCY, OR BY ANY OF THEIR DESIGNATED SUBORDINATES IN CASES WHERE (A) THE COST THEREOF, TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION SALARY AND SUBSISTENCE SAVINGS, IS NOT IN EXCESS OF TRAVEL BY REGULAR-FARE TRAINS, OR (B) IN EMERGENCIES WHERE NECESSARY FOR SAVING LIFE OR PROPERTY. WHEN THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY EXTRA FARE TRAINS IS IN EXCESS OF THE COST OF TRAVEL BY REGULAR-FARE TRAINS, TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION SALARY AND SUBSISTENCE SAVINGS, AND THERE IS NO EXISTING EMERGENCY INVOLVING THE LOSS OF LIFE OR PROPERTY, TRANSPORTATION BY EXTRA- FARE TRAINS MUST BE SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN EACH CASE BY THE HEAD OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR AGENCY CONCERNED.'

PARAGRAPH 13 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS STATES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"13. ACCOMMODATIONS ON TRAINS AND STEAMERS.--- THE FOLLOWING ACCOMMODATIONS WILL BE ALLOWED ON TRAINS AND STEAMERS (SEE PAR. 57):

"/A) ONE STANDARD LOWER BERTH FOR EACH PERSON * * *.'

THIS DEPARTMENT IS AWARE OF THE FACT THAT THE FORMER COMPTROLLER GENERAL AS WELL AS YOURSELF HAVE UNIFORMLY HELD THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE ON RAILROADS IS THE RATE FOR ONE STANDARD LOWER BERTH, AND THAT THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, HERETOFORE MENTIONED, WILL NOT PERMIT PAYMENT FOR A SECTION OR A DRAWING ROOM FOR THE USE OF ONE TRAVELER. HOWEVER, THERE HAVE ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL PERFORMED BY PERSONNEL OF THIS DEPARTMENT ON EXTRA-FARE TRAINS CERTAIN FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES THAT APPEAR TO JUSTIFY REQUESTING YOU TO FURTHER CONSIDER THE QUESTION AS TO WHAT CONSTITUTES THE "LOWEST FIRST CLASS RATE.'

THE EXTRA-FARE TRAIN ADVERTISED AS THE " CENTURY LIMITED" OPERATING BETWEEN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AND NEW YORK, NEW YORK, OVER THE LINES OF THE NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY DOES NOT CARRY PULLMAN CARS WITH LOWER AND UPPER BERTHS (THE SAME STATEMENT IS TRUE IN REGARD TO THE " CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO" OPERATING BETWEEN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AND SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, OVER THE LINES OF THE CHICAGO AND NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY COMPANY, UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY AND THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY), THE SOLE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR OVERNIGHT PASSENGERS BEING ROOMETTES.

IT WOULD APPEAR TO THIS DEPARTMENT THAT IN ANY CASE WHERE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE THEREOF, IN PERFORMING HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES, IS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY TO TRAVEL ON AN EXTRA-FARE TRAIN EQUIPPED SOLELY WITH ROOMETTES, SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN OCCUPYING ONE OF THE ROOMETTES HAS NOT IMPROPERLY INCREASED THE OBLIGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, IN THAT THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE HAS NOT BEEN EXCEEDED.

IN DECISION OF MAY 31, 1933, A-48894, IN WHICH THE QUESTION OF EXTRA FARE TRAIN WAS DISCUSSED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, IT WAS STATED, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

IN CASES WHERE THE USE OF AN EXTRA-FARE TRAIN IS DUE TO A NEED OF THE SERVICE WHICH COULD NOT BE MET BY USE OF THE REGULAR-FARE TRAIN, AND NOT FOR THE COMFORT OR CONVENIENCE OF THE TRAVELER, THE EXTRA-FARE TRAIN MAY BE CONSIDERED "THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED" WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, SUPRA. * * * SEE ALSO DECISION A- 90486, DATED DECEMBER 21, 1937.

WHERE A VOUCHER ON WHICH CLAIM IS MADE FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR USE OF A ROOMETTE ON AN EXTRA-FARE TRAIN CONTAINS PROPER EVIDENCE THAT THE USE OF THE EXTRA-FARE TRAIN WAS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN STRICT ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS PRESCRIBED BY PARAGRAPH 15 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED, AND THERE IS ESTABLISHED THE FACT THAT NO PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS WERE AVAILABLE ON SAID TRAIN AT A LOWER CHARGE THAN THE ACCOMMODATIONS ACTUALLY USED, PAYMENT OF THE CHARGE IN ACCORDANCE WITH ESTABLISHED TARIFFS FOR THE ACCOMMODATIONS ACTUALLY USED IN SUCH CASES WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE, IF OTHERWISE PROPER.