Army--Mass Transit Benefits, Aberdeen Proving Ground
B-316381: Jul 18, 2008
A certifying officer with the United States Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine (USACHPPM) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, requests a decision under 31 U.S.C. 3529 regarding mass transit benefits at USACHPPM. Specifically, the certifying officer asks whether USACHPPM is "authorized to deny requests for Mass Transit Benefits for Civilians and/or active duty Army personnel" for what the certifying officer describes as short commuting distances or easy travel conditions currently existing in and around Aberdeen.2 See Request Memo.
The Federal Employees Clean Air Incentives Act permits agency heads to reimburse federal employees including members of a uniformed service for certain commuting expenses. 5 U.S.C. 7905. The Army has instituted a policy of providing transit benefits to eligible service members and employees outside the national capital region for qualified means of transportation. As we explain below, in accordance with this policy, a certifying officer at USACHPPM may certify payment for transit benefits for an eligible active duty Army officer, notwithstanding the certifying officer's concerns that the claimant's commuting distance is short and travel conditions are easy. The certifying officer's concerns are answered by the Army's policy, which, for equitable reasons, prohibits installations outside the national capitol region from restricting these benefits if eligibility criteria are me