The U.S. Postal Service, looking to cut costs after losing $16 billion last year, defaulting twice on money it owed the federal government, and blowing through a $15 billion line of credit from the U.S. Treasury, is considering cutting out doorstep delivery of mail and replacing it with centralized locations where citizens could pick up their mail.
CNN Money reports that GOP Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is leading the charge to save the Postal Service, said, “A balanced approach to saving the Postal Service means allowing USPS to adapt to America’s changing use of mail.”
Some new houses and developments already feature a curb mailbox or group of mailboxes where numerous people can retrieve their mail, and some GOP House members want to use that idea for everyone. The change would save the Postal Service $4.5 billion a year; the Postal Service currently spends $30 billion to deliver the mail.
A report from the Postal Service Office of Inspector General claims it costs $353 per stop for mail delivery now, while changing to a centralized location would reduce the cost to $224 for a curbside delivery box and $160 for a cluster of boxes.
Mailworker unions are furious. Jim Sauber, chief of staff for the National Association of Letter Carriers, told CNN, “It’s madness. The idea that somebody is going to walk down to their mailbox in Buffalo, N.Y., in the winter snow to get their mail is just crazy.”
But those in favor of the change cite its advantages over cutting Saturday service, another idea which has been considered.