WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, released the following statement reacting to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report examining the Postal Service's extensive retail network. The report was jointly requested by Sen. Carper and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Sen. Carper's statement follows:
"With today's report, the Government Accountability Office has again confirmed much of what we already knew – the U.S. Postal Service has more work to do to implement a strategy that effectively optimizes its retail network to reduce costs, reflects declining mail volumes and maintains necessary access to retail service. Of the nearly 32,000 retail facilities operated by the Postal Service, approximately 80 percent of them do not generate sufficient revenue to cover their costs. Yet despite sharp declines in customer visits and diminishing mail volumes, the number of postal retail facilities has remained largely constant.
"Many people, including some of my colleagues in Congress, strongly believe that closing postal retail facilities is the wrong approach. I would agree that the kind of mass closings proposed by the Postal Service in recent months would be ill-advised. In fact, the Postal Service should actually be seeking ways to provide increased retail access in some communities through alternate retail options, such as automated kiosks and partnerships with other businesses. That said, the Postal Service is losing billions of dollars annually while mail volume continues to decline. Change must happen. And I've long maintained that if something is worth having, it is worth paying for. If we want to require the Postal Service to maintain retail facilities, we have to figure out a way to reduce costs elsewhere or raise revenues. The bill being considered by the Senate would help the Postal Service do that with post offices, encouraging them to work with individual communities to find cheaper, potentially more convenient ways to offer retail access to postal customers.
"I look forward to working with my colleagues to address the financial challenges facing the Postal Service when the Senate considers the comprehensive, bipartisan postal reform legislation that I have co-authored along with Sens. Lieberman, Collins and Scott Brown this week. As I've said time and again, the Postal Service's financial crisis is dire, but it's not hopeless. We can solve this problem if we work together to provide the Postal Service with the flexibility and resources it needs to survive in the 21st Century."
To read the GAO report, please visit: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-433.