B-81693, DECEMBER 31, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 392

B-81693: Dec 31, 1948

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ARE NOT AVAILABLE ON OTHER TRAINS. PAYMENTS MAY NOT BE MADE FOR ACCOMMODATIONS ON ALL-ROOM TRAINS WHERE LESS EXPENSIVE LOWER BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS OR ROOM ACCOMMODATIONS WERE AVAILABLE ON OTHER TRAINS. REFERENCE IS MADE IN THE SAID LETTER OF OCTOBER 22. TO THE ESTABLISHED POLICY UNDER EXISTING LAW AND REGULATIONS TO CONSIDER THE USE OF EXTRA FARE AND EXCLUSIVE ROOM TRAINS FOR TRAVEL OF INDIVIDUALS FOR WHOM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY IS TO FURNISH TRANSPORTATION AS AUTHORIZED ONLY UNDER EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES AND WHEN SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS ARE EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL ORDERS. IN THAT CONNECTION ATTENTION WAS INVITED TO A REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN. COPIES OF WHICH WERE ENCLOSED. IN WHICH IT IS STATED THAT PRESENT TRENDS IN THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY OF RAPIDLY REPLACING SECTION SPACE EQUIPMENT WITH ALL- ROOM CARS INDICATE THAT WITHIN A COMPARATIVELY SHORT TIME THERE WILL BE LITTLE OR NO SECTION SPACE AVAILABLE ON MAJOR TRAINS VIA THE MAJOR ROUTES OF TRAVEL.

B-81693, DECEMBER 31, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 392

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION - ALL-ROOM TRAINS UNDER SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, AS AMENDED, LIMITING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS TO THE "LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED," THE FACILITIES OF AN ALL ROOM TRAIN MAY BE USED ON A NON-EMERGENCY BASIS IF LOWER BERTHS OR OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS SUPERIOR TO A LOWER BERTH, BUT LESS EXPENSIVE THAN THE LEAST EXPENSIVE ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE ALL-ROOM TRAIN, ARE NOT AVAILABLE ON OTHER TRAINS; HOWEVER, PAYMENTS MAY NOT BE MADE FOR ACCOMMODATIONS ON ALL-ROOM TRAINS WHERE LESS EXPENSIVE LOWER BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS OR ROOM ACCOMMODATIONS WERE AVAILABLE ON OTHER TRAINS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, DECEMBER 31, 1948:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 16, 1948, FORWARDING A LETTER FROM THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL DATED OCTOBER 22, 1948, A RELATIVE TO THE USE OF ALL-ROOM PASSENGER TRAINS FOR PERSONNEL TRAVELING AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. REFERENCE IS MADE IN THE SAID LETTER OF OCTOBER 22, 1948, TO THE ESTABLISHED POLICY UNDER EXISTING LAW AND REGULATIONS TO CONSIDER THE USE OF EXTRA FARE AND EXCLUSIVE ROOM TRAINS FOR TRAVEL OF INDIVIDUALS FOR WHOM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY IS TO FURNISH TRANSPORTATION AS AUTHORIZED ONLY UNDER EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES AND WHEN SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS ARE EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL ORDERS. IN THAT CONNECTION ATTENTION WAS INVITED TO A REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN, INTERTERRITORIAL MILITARY COMMITTEE, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, QUOTED IN MEMORANDUM OF THE WESTERN MILITARY BUREAU, DATED OCTOBER 4, 1948, COPIES OF WHICH WERE ENCLOSED, IN WHICH IT IS STATED THAT PRESENT TRENDS IN THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY OF RAPIDLY REPLACING SECTION SPACE EQUIPMENT WITH ALL- ROOM CARS INDICATE THAT WITHIN A COMPARATIVELY SHORT TIME THERE WILL BE LITTLE OR NO SECTION SPACE AVAILABLE ON MAJOR TRAINS VIA THE MAJOR ROUTES OF TRAVEL. IN VIEW OF SUCH CONSIDERATION, AND OF THE FURTHER SUGGESTED CONSIDERATION THAT THE CONTINUANCE OF THE PRESENT POLICY TENDS TO EFFECT A DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THOSE ROUTES USING ALL-ROOM TRAINS EXCLUSIVELY-- WHICH IS NOT CONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF JOINT MILITARY PASSENGER AGREEMENT NO. 25 REQUIRING AN EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF TRAFFIC BETWEEN COMPETING CARRIERS--- IT IS PROPOSED THAT THERE BE ADOPTED A PROCEDURE CONTEMPLATING THAT ROUTES OVER WHICH ONLY ALL-ROOM TRAINS OPERATE WILL BE CONSIDERED AS AVAILABLE FOR THE USE OF NORMAL NAVAL PASSENGER TRAFFIC ON A BASIS EQUAL TO THAT OF COMPETING ROUTES OPERATING TRAINS EQUIPPED WITH SECTION SPACE. SUCH PROCEDURE IS SUGGESTED TO BE PROPER UNDER INSTRUCTIONS SIMILAR TO THE CURRENT INSTRUCTIONS AUTHORIZING THE INCURRING OF RAIL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IN EXCESS OF THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATES, EXCEPT THAT THE REQUIREMENT IN THOSE INSTRUCTIONS FOR INCORPORATING AUTHORITY IN TRAVEL ORDERS FOR THE USE OF AN ALL-ROOM TRAIN WILL BE REMOVED. YOU REQUEST DECISION AS TO WHETHER THIS OFFICE WILL BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO SUCH PROPOSED PROCEDURE.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES TO WHOM ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL MAY BE ALLOWED BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW WERE ENTITLED TO SUCH EXPENSES NOT TO EXCEED THE "LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL.' SUCH PROVISIONS UNIFORMLY HAVE BEEN INTERPRETED IN THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE AS RESTRICTING TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO THE COST OF A LOWER BERTH, THE CLASS OF ACCOMMODATIONS REGARDED AS THE "LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE" AS APPLIED TO SLEEPING CAR ACCOMMODATIONS, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER A LOWER BERTH ACTUALLY IS AVAILABLE TO THE TRAVELER, EXCEPT IN CASES INVOLVING UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CONDITIONS WHERE THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF PUBLIC BUSINESS REQUIRES THE USE OF TRAINS CARRYING ALL-ROOM EQUIPMENT, IN WHICH EVENT THE LEAST EXPENSIVE ACCOMMODATIONS ON SUCH TRAINS HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED TO BE THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS BY THE FACILITIES USED. 23 COMP. GEN. 9; ID. 532. THE SAID SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, WAS AMENDED BY SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 808, TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 10. WHENEVER BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION MAY BE ALLOWED, SUCH ALLOWANCES SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRANSPORTATION UNLESS IT IS CERTIFIED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, THAT LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT USE OF A COMPARTMENT OR SUCH OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS AS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY DESIGNATE, IS REQUIRED FOR PURPOSES OF SECURITY.

THE EFFECT OF THE PROVISIONS OF SUCH AMENDMENT IS CLEAR. THEY LIBERALIZE THE PROVISIONS OF THE 1933 ACT TO THE EXTENT THAT TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED AT OTHER THAN THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE WHERE IT IS CERTIFIED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, THAT LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT USE OF A COMPARTMENT OR SUCH OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS AS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR DESIGNATED SUBORDINATE IS REQUIRED FOR PURPOSES OF SECURITY. THEY DO NOT PROVIDE OR CONTEMPLATE ANY CHANGE WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF THE COST OF A LOWER BERTH AS THE STANDARD FOR DETERMINING THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE FOR NIGHT TRAVEL. 26 COMP. GEN. 360. NEITHER DO THEY PURPORT TO CHANGE THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE USE, UNDER ORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES, OF ROUTES WITH LOWER BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS AVAILABLE TO THE TRAVELER TO THE EXCLUSION OF ROUTES NOT AFFORDING SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS.

FROM THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE INTERTERRITORIAL MILITARY COMMITTEE, REFERRED TO ABOVE, IT APPEARS, AS SUGGESTED, THAT THERE EXISTS A DEFINITE TREND ON THE PART OF MAJOR RAILROADS TO CONVERT A CONSIDERABLE PORTION OF THEIR PASSENGER EQUIPMENT FROM SECTION TYPE TO ALL-ROOM CARS. IT IS NOT BELIEVED, HOWEVER, THAT SUCH CONVERSION PROGRAM PRESENTS A SITUATION THAT UNDULY COMPLICATES THE APPLICATION OF THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, AS AMENDED, SUPRA. UNDER SUCH REQUIREMENTS, THE TRAVELER MUST TRAVEL VIA A ROUTE AFFORDING THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED WHICH, UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES NOW EXISTING, ORDINARILY IS A ROUTE HAVING LOWER BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS. IF, DUE TO EXTENSIVE CONVERSION TO ALL-ROOM EQUIPMENT, THE SITUATION SHOULD ARISE THAT NO TRAINS OPERATING BETWEEN CERTAIN POINTS WOULD CARRY SECTION TYPE EQUIPMENT, THE "LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE" AVAILABLE TO THE TRAVELER WHICH COULD BE USED TO ACCOMPLISH THE REQUIREMENTS OF HIS ORDERS WOULD, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE, BE THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE AVAILABLE ALL -ROOM TRAINS.

WHILE THE REQUIREMENT THAT TRAVEL BE ACCOMPLISHED BY USE OF LOWER BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS WHEN AVAILABLE MIGHT, IN A SENSE, BE CONSIDERED DISCRIMINATORY AGAINST ROUTES EMPLOYING ALL-ROOM EQUIPMENT EXCLUSIVELY, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE VARIOUS CARRIERS AS PARTIES TO THE JOINT MILITARY PASSENGER AGREEMENT NO. 25 WERE FULLY AWARE OF EXISTING STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS IN THE MATTER OF THE FURNISHING OF PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION IN THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT WHEN THAT AGREEMENT WAS ADOPTED. THE NECESSITY FOR STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS MAY NOT BE OVERCOME ON THE BASIS OF AN ASSUMPTION NOW THAT THE PARTIES TO THAT AGREEMENT MIGHT BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, AS AMENDED, QUOTED ABOVE, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO CAUSE FOR OBJECTING TO THE USE OF THE FACILITIES OF AN ALL-ROOM TRAIN ON A NON-EMERGENCY BASIS IF LOWER BERTH FACILITIES OR OTHER SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS SUPERIOR TO A LOWER BERTH BUT LESS EXPENSIVE THAN THE LEAST EXPENSIVE ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE ALL-ROOM TRAIN ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO THE TRAVELER ON OTHER TRAINS OPERATING BETWEEN THE POINTS OF TRAVEL INVOLVED. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE REQUIREMENT UNDER THOSE PROVISIONS FOR THE USE OF ACCOMMODATIONS NOT TO EXCEED THE "LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE" AVAILABLE, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT UNDER EXISTING LAW THIS OFFICE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO PAYMENTS MADE FOR TRANSPORTATION OBTAINED ON AN ALL-ROOM TRAIN UNDER THE PROCEDURE PROPOSED IN THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 22, 1948, FROM THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL, IN CASES WHERE LOWER BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS OR ROOM ACCOMMODATIONS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN THE LEAST EXPENSIVE ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE ALL-ROOM TRAIN WERE IN FACT AVAILABLE TO THE TRAVELER ON OTHER TRAINS OPERATING BETWEEN THE POINTS OF TRAVEL AND COULD HAVE BEEN USED BY HIM IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE TRAVEL REQUIRED BY HIS ORDERS.