The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) today announced it will not close any of the 134 post offices in Kansas that were being considered for closure or consolidation, nor will it close the more than 3,600 post offices nationwide that were included in USPS’ Expanded Access study. U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee – which has jurisdiction over the Postal Service – released the following statement on the announcement:
“This news is a win for communities across Kansas,” Sen. Moran said. “For the last year, we have been asking the Postal Service what Kansans need to do to save their post offices – and USPS listened. I am pleased we were able to work with the Postmaster General to find a solution that will help return USPS to financial viability, while keeping our post offices open and preserving the services vital to all Americans.”
Instead of closing the post offices that were under study, USPS will adjust hours of operation to match customer use at post offices across the country, resulting in an estimated savings of half a billion dollars annually. Decisions on new service hours will be based on community preferences and needs. USPS is considering options including allowing local businesses to sell stamps and other postal services outside of post office hours. Even with reduced hours, access to retail lobbies and post office boxes will remain unchanged and Saturday delivery will not be affected.
In April, language originally proposed by Sen. Moran to require USPS to consider alternatives to closure prior to closing any post office passed the Senate as part of S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012. These options included reducing the number of hours the post office is open, or procuring a contract to provide retail postal services in an alternative establishment such as the local hardware store or grocery store. Sen. Moran’s successful language also required USPS to set minimum standards of service that must be considered prior to closing any post office.
Sen. Moran has worked consistently to make certain rural communities are not forgotten as USPS restructures. Maintaining rural post offices only amounts to 0.7 percent of the Postal Service’s budget; their closure would have had little benefit to the USPS’ bottom line while bringing much hardship to rural America.