Future of postal delivery

Clay Myer continues his deliveries on a typical day as a rural letter carrier. Myer, who was recently re-elected president of the Alabama Rural Letter Carriers Association, says six-day postal delivery is on the line.

Clay Myer of Centre, who was re-elected president of the Alabama Rural Letter Carriers Association recently week at the group’s annual convention in Birmingham, said six-day postal delivery is on the line.

U.S. House leaders trying to shore up the depleted Highway Trust Fund want to do so with a controversial plan to use money saved from cutting mail service.

Postal Service advocates and supporters of increased transportation funding both say the funding issues should not be combined.

“Reducing mail delivery will not solve the Highway Trust Fund’s money problems, and it is not postal reform,” Myer said. “According to the Congressional Budget Office, the elimination of six-day delivery would fund the HTF for only eight months. We do not call that a solution.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has defended the controversial plan to use cuts at the Postal Service to pay for a transportation bill.

Cantor was defeated in the primary election Tuesday in Virginia.

Myer said the proposal is shortsighted and does not fix financial problems at the Post Office or in transportation.

The push for five-day delivery continues to be a sticking point for Democrats and Republicans who represent rural districts, especially with mid-term elections this fall.

More than three dozen House Republicans have signed a resolution calling on the U.S. Postal Service to maintain six-day delivery, the Washington Post reported this week.

Myer said the letter carriers are not opposed to reform and are ready to make changes to adapt to a rapidly changing economy, but cutting services will cause the Postal Service to lose business to competitors.

The Postal Service receives no taxpayer money. It earned a profit on its postal operations last year but incurred heavy losses from pre-funding retirees’ health benefits.

The primary source for transportations projects has been the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents a gallon, which hasn’t been raised in more than 20 years. Gas tax revenue falls about $16 billion short of transportation spending approved by Congress in 2012.