Congress is considering a bill to replace some doorstep mail delivery with communal mailboxes.
A longer walk to get your mail may be in your future. A bill to phase out door-to-door mail delivery for millions of Americans was recently approved by a U.S. House committee.
According to The Associated Press, the proposal would convert 15 million addresses to communal or curbside boxes over the next decade. While supporters of the bill say it could save the U.S. Postal Service nearly $2 billion annually, opponents of the bill say it won’t work in many cities.
“I think it’s a lousy idea,” said Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts. He was joined by some other lawmakers in saying it wouldn’t work in urban areas where there’s no place on city streets to put banks of so-called “cluster boxes” that have compartments for multiple homes.
Disabled individuals who have difficulty leaving their residence could apply for a waiver to continue door-to-door service. And for people who don’t want to give up door delivery, they would have the option to continue receiving mail at their residence — for a fee, of course.
It’s estimated that the Postal Service spends about $380 a year to deliver mail to each door. Curbside delivery would cost about $240 per household, and community mailbox delivery would cost $170. The savings would be significant for the Postal Service, which lost nearly $16 billion last fiscal year.
Although the proposal could save billions of dollars for USPS, it likely wouldn’t be enough to solve all of the service’s financial problems. In the first three months of 2014 alone the Postal Service has reportedly lost $1.9 billion.
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