B-88876, OCTOBER 17, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 193

B-88876: Oct 17, 1949

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MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - COMPARATIVE COSTS - TAXICAB FARES WHEN THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES FOR TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS AUTHORIZED. NO DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT IS MADE UNDER PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED. REASONABLE TAXICAB FARES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN BY COMMON CARRIER ARE FOR CONSIDERATION. THE AMOUNTS REPRESENTING THE TAXICAB FARES WERE DEDUCTED FROM THE VOUCHERS. IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO USE HIS PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE AT A RATE OF FIVE CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED THE COST BY COMMON CARRIER.

B-88876, OCTOBER 17, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 193

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - COMPARATIVE COSTS - TAXICAB FARES WHEN THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES FOR TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS AUTHORIZED, BUT NO DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT IS MADE UNDER PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED, THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED, AND, IN CONSTRUCTING THE TOTAL COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER, REASONABLE TAXICAB FARES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN BY COMMON CARRIER ARE FOR CONSIDERATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO J. E. SATER, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, OCTOBER 17, 1949:

BY LETTER OF AUGUST 24, 1949, FILE 375, THE DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS AND FINANCE, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, FORWARDED HERE FOR CONSIDERATION YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20, 1949, FILE 312, FORWARDING A TRAVEL VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF CECIL J. MOORE, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, COVERING RECLAIM OF $3, REPRESENTING TAXICAB FARES ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM VOUCHERS ORIGINALLY PRESENTED. YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO WHETHER SUCH VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

TRAVEL ORDER NO. R51-49 DATED NOVEMBER 29, 1948, DIRECTED MR. MOORE TO TRAVEL FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS IN DENVER, COLORADO, TO VARIOUS PLACES AND AUTHORIZED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT A MILEAGE RATE OF FIVE CENTS PER MILE. VOUCHERS 54599 AND 13-95159, CERTIFIED BY YOU AND PAID BY C. E. EVANS IN HIS APRIL AND JUNE 1949 ACCOUNTS, RESPECTIVELY, SHOW THAT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SAID ORDER THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELED BY AUTOMOBILE FROM DENVER TO BOISE, IDAHO, AND RETURN. HE CLAIMED, IN LIEU OF MILEAGE, THE COST OF ONE-HALF ROUND TRIP RAIL FARE AND PULLMAN FARE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED, AND TWO TAXICAB FARES AT 75 CENTS EACH, $1.50, ON EACH VOUCHER. IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXAMINATION, THE AMOUNTS REPRESENTING THE TAXICAB FARES WERE DEDUCTED FROM THE VOUCHERS.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO USE HIS PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE AT A RATE OF FIVE CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED THE COST BY COMMON CARRIER; THAT IN BUILDING UP THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST BY RAIL FOR COMPARISON WITH THE MILEAGE CLAIMED, THE EMPLOYEE INCLUDED THE TAXICAB FARES THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN BY RAIL; AND THAT WHILE THESE FARES WERE ENTIRELY REASONABLE AND WITHOUT DOUBT WERE NOT IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT THE EMPLOYEE WOULD HAVE PAID HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN BY RAIL, THE AMOUNTS WERE ADMINISTRATIVELY DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT YOUR OFFICE HAD NO PRECEDENT OR DECISION CLEARLY ESTABLISHING THAT THE ALLOWANCE OF SUCH CLAIMS WAS PROPER. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT THE TRAVELER'S CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER CONSTITUTES CERTIFICATION THAT THE FARES CLAIMED ARE THE AMOUNTS ACTUALLY PAID, WHEREAS TAXICAB FARES USED IN A CONSTRUCTIVE COST COMPARISON ARE MORE IN THE NATURE OF A SPECULATIVE EXPENSE NOT READILY SUBJECT TO ADMINISTRATIVE VERIFICATION.

PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED AND INCLUDED IN BUDGET CIRCULAR A-7, REVISED, DATED JULY 6, 1948, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF TRAVEL, PROVIDES, IN PART, FOR THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED (OR SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED) AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT WHERE TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS AUTHORIZED BUT NO DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE HAS BEEN SHOWN, THE TRAVELER IS LIMITED TO MILEAGE NOT IN EXCESS OF THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT BY THE USUAL PUBLIC MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION AND THAT IN CONSTRUCTING THE TOTAL COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER THERE ARE FOR CONSIDERATION THE TAXICAB FARES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN PERFORMED BY COMMON CARRIER. B-65353, APRIL 25, 1947; B 66593, JULY 3, 1947; PARAGRAPH 8 (A), STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT FIVE CENTS PER MILE AND CONTAINED NO STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT BY THE USE OF SUCH MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, THEREFORE, THE TRAVELER IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED, AND, IN CONSTRUCTING SUCH COST, TAXICAB FARES ARE FOR CONSIDERATION. SINCE THE AMOUNT OF 75 CENTS FOR EACH TAXICAB FARE APPEARS REASONABLE, THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO THE AMOUNT RECLAIMED.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT, FOR THE REASONS STATED ABOVE, THE RECLAIMED VOUCHER FOR $3 MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.