Nebraskans would see the end of next-day mail delivery under a plan unveiled this week by the U.S. Postal Service.
Rich Watkins, a postal spokesman for Nebraska, says there’s been a dramatic drop in mail volume in recent years, especially First Class mail.
The shift has contributed to the Postal Service’s $5.1 billion in debt this year alone.
“As you begin to dispatch less-than-full pallets and ship less-than-full truck loads, that’s when it gets really expensive,” Watkins said.
The Postal Regulatory Commission likely won’t issue an opinion on the proposed changes for several months. The Postal Service earlier announced plans to close up to 90 post offices in Nebraska.
Watkins says First Class mail volume continues to fall as people’s habits change.
“In 2005, for example, only five-percent of people paid their bills online. Now, that figure is 60-percent. So, there’s been a huge shift in the way our customers nationwide are using the mail,” Watkins said.
He says First Class mail volume has dropped 27-percent in just the past three years.
The Postal Service is turning to Congress in hopes of changing policies that would save the agency billions of dollars. One plan would eliminate a requirement to pre-fund future retiree health benefits.
Watkins says another change would eliminate mail delivery on Saturdays.
He notes independent opinion surveys of both residential and commercial mailers have found nearly 70-percent would accept a five-day delivery week as a way to keep postal rates down.
Watkins said, since 2006, the U.S. Postal Service has cut jobs and consolidated services to save about $12 billion — but much more still need to be done.