Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery per week, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday.
Postmaster General John E. Potter asked lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week.
Faced with dwindling mail volume and rising costs, the post office was $2.8 billion in the red last year and, "if current trends continue, we could experience a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year," Potter said in testimony for a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee.
Total mail volume was 202 billion items last year, more than 9 billion less than the year before, the largest single volume drop in history.
And, despite annual rate increases, Potter said 2009 could be the first year since 1946 that the actual amount of money collected by the post office declines.
"It is possible that the cost of six-day delivery may simply prove to be unaffordable," Potter said. "I reluctantly request that Congress remove the annual appropriation bill rider, first added in 1983, that requires the Postal Service to deliver mail six days each week."
If the change is made, that doesn't necessarily mean an end to Saturday mail delivery. Previous studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day, such as Tuesday.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Postmaster General asks Congress to waive requirement for delivery
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: