UPDATE: Committee approves postal reform act

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email

UPDATE: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today approved the Postal Reform Act of 2013, on a vote of 22-17.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- For generations, Americans have come to depend on door-to-door mail delivery. Wednesday, the House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on proposal that would bring an end to the service that many Americans cherish so much.

Republican Darrell Issa of California wrote the proposal. It would get rid of door-to-door deliveries, which brings letter carriers right to someone's home. Instead, mail would only come to mailboxes at the end of a driveway, or a group of mailboxes. It's a measure aimed at saving money, but it doesn't sit well with some people in Eau Claire's Putnam Heights neighborhood.

“I like it delivered to the door just fine and I hope they continue to do that,” said Eau Claire resident Tom Zahorik.

Zahorik has lived in Eau Claire since 1975. He says switching to anything different has many disadvantages.

“People depend on mail coming to their house; whether it’s letters, whether it’s birthday cards, whether it’s medications. Whatever it happens to be, older people really need their mail delivered to their house,” explained Zahorik.

The proposal would eliminate mail boxes that looks like a slot on the side of the house, or a mail box attached to the door.

“I understand the need to keep the cost lower for the postal service,” said Dan Mundt Jr. of Eau Claire.

It would mean more than $4 billion in savings every year. The USPS says it costs more than $300 per address per year to deliver door to door. But that cost is around $200 for curbside delivery, and about $160 for a central mail box.

"The reality is: we're going to have to cut some costs. We just have to cut some costs,” said Jason Chaffetz, Republican Representative from Utah.

Mundt Jr. watches his mail carrier on his route every morning. He sees a benefit in getting rid of door-door deliveries.

“He parks about two blocks from here, and then does that loop, so between four to five blocks that he is walking, as opposed to just driving that,” explained Mundt Jr.

About 35 million of residence and business receive door-to-door services now. The National Association of Letter Carriers says phasing out door-to-door delivery would destroy tens of thousands jobs. Some call it virtually impossible in older U.S. neighborhoods.

"You would have to knock down houses in my area, in my neighborhood in order to build cluster boxes,” added Democrat Stephen Lunch, Representative from Massachusetts.

This proposal would phase out door-to-door delivery during the next eight years. Stopping delivery on Saturday was a cost-cutting proposal earlier this year that the postal service postponed after public outcry, which is how the proposal to stop door to door may end up, too.

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