Request for Paid Mileage

B-196445: Mar 25, 1980

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The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) questioned the propriety of paying the mileage claims of certain federal mine inspectors who drove to their duty station in privately owned vehicles (POV) and then used a government vehicle to travel to various inspection sites. The inspectors normally used their POV for commuting. At other times, after picking up a government vehicle, the inspectors traveled to numerous mining sites requiring one or more nights of lodging before the inspectors returned to their duty site. GAO has consistently held that an employee must bear the cost of transportation between his residence and his place of duty at his official duty station. However, on days when travel is performed, mileage expenses may be allowed in certain instances for travel between the employee's residence and his official duty station. The final determination as to whether mileage should be paid is within the discretion of the agency involved. In the instant case, since little or no additional costs were incurred on days when travel was performed than would have occurred had the employees remained at the office, GAO held that it was not an abuse of discretion for MSHA to determine that mileage should not be paid.