B-95492, JANUARY 29, 1951, 30 COMP. GEN. 321

B-95492: Jan 29, 1951

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THE STATUTE IS SILENT WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES FOR CONDUCTING GOVERNMENT BUSINESS. 1951: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF MAY 11. AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT TO COAST GUARD PERSONNEL FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES ON OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS AND WHETHER PAYMENT OF A FLAT RATE PER MILE IS PROPER. IS AS FOLLOWS: COAST GUARD PERSONNEL MAY BE DIRECTED TO SECURE TRANSPORTATION NECESSARY IN CONDUCTING OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS. IT IS STATED THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE IS TO PERMIT PAYMENT FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS OF EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF COAST GUARD PERSONNEL WHOSE WORK REQUIRES FREQUENT TRIPS FOR RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCES IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS.

B-95492, JANUARY 29, 1951, 30 COMP. GEN. 321

MILEAGE - HEADQUARTERS - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHILE 14 U.S.C. 474 AUTHORIZES PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY COAST GUARD PERSONNEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATION FOR TRAIN, STREETCAR, FERRY, BRIDGE, AND SIMILAR FARES AND TOLLS, THE STATUTE IS SILENT WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES FOR CONDUCTING GOVERNMENT BUSINESS, AND THEREFORE PAYMENT MAY NOT BE MADE OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES BY COAST GUARD PERSONNEL CONDUCTING GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY IN THE ABSENCE OF SOME SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JANUARY 29, 1951:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF MAY 11, 1950, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 474, TITLE 14, U.S.C. (AS ENACTED INTO LAW BY SECTION 1 OF THE ACT APPROVED AUGUST 4, 1949, 63 STAT. 532), AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT TO COAST GUARD PERSONNEL FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES ON OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS AND WHETHER PAYMENT OF A FLAT RATE PER MILE IS PROPER.

SECTION 474, TITLE 14, U.S.C. IS AS FOLLOWS:

COAST GUARD PERSONNEL MAY BE DIRECTED TO SECURE TRANSPORTATION NECESSARY IN CONDUCTING OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS, AND EXPENSES INCURRED THEREBY FOR TRAIN, BUS, STREETCAR, FERRY, BRIDGE, AND SIMILAR FARES AND TOLLS MAY BE DEFRAYED BY THE COAST GUARD, OR THE PERSONNEL SO DIRECTED MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR SUCH EXPENSES.

IT IS STATED THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE IS TO PERMIT PAYMENT FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS OF EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF COAST GUARD PERSONNEL WHOSE WORK REQUIRES FREQUENT TRIPS FOR RELATIVELY SHORT DISTANCES IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS, PARTICULARLY, IN THE CASE OF MERCHANT MARINE INSPECTORS WHOSE PRINCIPAL DUTY IS THE INSPECTION OF MERCHANT VESSELS AT PORTS OF THE UNITED STATES. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT SUCH DUTY OFTEN REQUIRES THE USE OF EQUIPMENT WHICH IS NOT ADAPTABLE FOR CARRIAGE BY THE USUAL METHODS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION BUT WHICH MUST BE TRANSPORTED EITHER IN GOVERNMENT VEHICLES OR BY TAXICABS OR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES AND THAT SINCE IN MANY INSTANCES GOVERNMENT VEHICLES ARE NOT AVAILABLE, THE USE OF TAXICABS OR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES IS REQUIRED TO ACCOMPLISH THE ASSIGNED DUTY.

SECTION 474, SUPRA, AUTHORIZES PAYMENT BY THE COAST GUARD OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED FOR "TRAIN, BUS, STREETCAR, FERRY, BRIDGE, AND SIMILAR FARES AND TOLLS," IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSPORTATION OF COAST GUARD PERSONNEL ON OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS AND REIMBURSEMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE IN CASES WHERE SAID PERSONNEL HAVE PROPERLY INCURRED "SUCH EXPENSES.' THE STATUTE, HOWEVER, IS SILENT WITH RESPECT TO THE USE BY COAST GUARD PERSONNEL OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES IN CONDUCTING OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS. THE LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS IN CONNECTION WITH H.R. 4566, WHICH BILL SUBSEQUENTLY WAS ENACTED INTO LAW AS TITLE 14, U.S.C. INCLUDING THAT PORTION OF HOUSE REPORT NO. 557, DATED MAY 10, 1949, QUOTED IN THE ACTING SECRETARY'S LETTER OF MAY 11, 1950, MAKE NO REFERENCE TO THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES. THE ONLY PERTINENT GENERAL PROVISION IN THE STATUTE IS THE ONE WHICH REFERS TO "SIMILAR FARES AND TOLLS" BUT SUCH LANGUAGE, EVEN WHEN READ WITH THE REST OF THE STATUTE, MAY NOT BE VIEWED AS INCLUDING EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES. HENCE, THIS OFFICE MAY NOT CONCLUDE THAT THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BY COAST GUARD PERSONNEL IN CONDUCTING OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS WAS INTENDED OR CONTEMPLATED. ESPECIALLY IN VIEW OF THE SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY GRANTED IN CERTAIN INSTANCES FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EMPLOYEES FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES WHEN ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY OR PLACE OF SERVICE (SEE SECTION 4, ACT OF JUNE 9, 1949, 63 STAT. 166, 5 U.S.C. 837, SUPP. III, 1946 USED., AND SECTION 12 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942, AS AMENDED, 56 STAT. 364, 37 U.S.C. 112), IT MUST BE ASSUMED THAT SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES WOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED INETHE LAW IF PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES WAS INTENDED TO BE AUTHORIZED.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF SOME SPECIFIC AUTHORITY THEREFOR, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES BY COAST GUARD PERSONNEL FOR TRAVEL WITHIN THEIR DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY IS NOT AUTHORIZED. IN THIS CONNECTION, IT APPEARS APPROPRIATE TO MENTION THAT THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE, PER DIEM, OR OTHER FORM OF COMMUTED ALLOWANCES, SUCH AS THE FLAT ALLOWANCE PER MILE SUGGESTED IN THE LETTER OF MAY 11, 1950, IS ALLOWABLE ONLY WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 875, 877.