B-97166, JUL. 5, 1962

B-97166: Jul 5, 1962

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OUR SETTLEMENT WAS BASED UPON THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE TOLLS IN QUESTION ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE UNDER APPLICABLE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS. WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT * * * BE PAID IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION NOT TO EXCEED * * * 10 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES * * * WHEN ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY OR PLACES OF SERVICE. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PROPER OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS TO FIX SUCH RATES. AS WILL MOST NEARLY COMPENSATE THE TRAVELER FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES. IN DETERMINING WHETHER SUCH TRANSPORTATION IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

B-97166, JUL. 5, 1962

TO MR. MORRIS M. ZINGMAN:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1962, REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED JUNE 6, 1962, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR APPROXIMATELY $350 REPRESENTING BRIDGE TOLL CHARGES INCURRED BY YOU DURING THE PERIOD DECEMBER 1956 TO JULY 1960, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. OUR SETTLEMENT WAS BASED UPON THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE TOLLS IN QUESTION ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE UNDER APPLICABLE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS.

PARAGRAPH 3.5 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF YOUR SEPARATION, PROVIDED, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"B. MILEAGE BASIS.

"/1) CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS * * * REGARDLESS OF SUBSISTENCE STATUS AND HOURS OF TRAVEL, SHALL, WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT * * * BE PAID IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION NOT TO EXCEED * * * 10 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES * * * WHEN ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY OR PLACES OF SERVICE. IN SUCH CASES THE MILEAGE RATE AS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED MAY BE PAID FROM WHATEVER POINT THE EMPLOYEE * * * BEGINS HIS JOURNEY. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PROPER OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS TO FIX SUCH RATES, WITHIN THE MAXIMA, AS WILL MOST NEARLY COMPENSATE THE TRAVELER FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES. IN DETERMINING WHETHER SUCH TRANSPORTATION IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO THE ADVANTAGES RESULTING FROM THE MORE EXPEDITIOUS TRANSACTION OF THE PUBLIC BUSINESS AS WELL AS OTHER ADVANTAGES AND/OR DISADVANTAGES TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE PARTICULAR CASE. IN ADDITION TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE THERE MAY BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ACTUAL COST OF * * * BRIDGE * * * TOLLS. * * *"

THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE REPORTED, BASED UPON ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS PROMULGATED TO CARRY OUT THE INTENT OF THE FOREGOING STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATION, WHICH PRESCRIBES THE MAXIMUM ALLOWANCES, THAT YOU FREQUENTLY CLAIMED AND RECEIVED REIMBURSEMENT FOR VARIOUS TOLLS PAID WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS IN SUBSTANCE PROVIDE THAT MILEAGE WILL BE ALLOWED WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE BOROUGH OF BRONX WHEN AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELS DIRECT FROM HIS RESIDENCE TO A DUTY POST OTHER THAN HIS OFFICIAL STATION WITHIN THAT BOROUGH. THE NORTHERN APPROACH TO THE BRONX-WHITESTONE BRIDGE APPARENTLY IS REGARDED AS A BOUNDARY OF THE BRONX REGARDLESS OF WHERE THE TOLL FOR TRAVEL OVER THE BRIDGE IS COLLECTED. IN ANY CASE THE ALLOWANCE OF PARTICULAR BRIDGE TOLLS IS A MATTER FOR THE EXERCISE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. UNDER THAT ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION THE TOLLS PAID DAILY BY YOU FOR TRAVEL OVER THE BRONX-WHITESTONE BRIDGE DURING THE PERIOD DECEMBER 1956 TO JULY 1960, ARE ADMINISTRATIVELY CONSIDERED TO BE EXPENSES PERSONAL TO YOU IN TRAVELING BETWEEN YOUR WORK AND YOUR RESIDENCE, WHICH IS LOCATED AT A PLACE OF YOUR CHOICE.

THE WELL ESTABLISHED RULE IS THAT AN EMPLOYEE MUST BEAR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND HIS USUAL PLACE OF DUTY. 19 COMP. GEN. 836. WE REGARD THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE ALLOWANCES IN YOUR CASE AS AN EFFORT TO STRIKE AN EQUITABLE BALANCE BETWEEN THE ESTABLISHED RULE REFERRED TO ABOVE AND THE ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED BY THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IN ANY EVENT, THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS ARBITRARY OR CAPRICIOUS AND THEREFORE MAY NOT BE CHALLENGED BY US. THEREFORE, OUR DISALLOWANCE OF JUNE 6, 1962, MUST BE SUSTAINED.

REGARDING YOUR REQUEST FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING FURTHER APPEAL OF THIS MATTER, YOU ARE INFORMED THAT THE ACTION OF OUR OFFICE ON CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES IS FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE UPON ALL EXECUTIVE OFFICES OF THE GOVERNMENT. 28 COMP. GEN. 69. HOWEVER, WE DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO 28 U.S.C. 1491 CONCERNING THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS.