The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved H.R. 4670 Wednesday. Supporters of the legislation say it could save the U.S. Postal Service nearly $2 billion annually by ending traditional mail delivery in favor of centralized delivery locations, the Associated Press reports.
While many new addresses already have centralized delivery, the proposal would require USPS to convert 15 million addresses from door-slot delivery to curbside cluster boxes over the next decade.
Rep. Darrell Issa, who sponsored the bill, said that less than 1% of all addresses would undergo the change annually and the new method would offer a safe, locked location for packages.
There would be exceptions to the new service, though. People with disabilities who have difficulty leaving their homes could get waivers to continue traditional delivery. And consumers who would rather continue delivery to their doors could pay for the service.
Still, the proposal lacks the support of many legislators who believe it would cause undo stress for consumers and wouldn’t work in all areas of the country, such as urban settings where there is little room on sidewalks for the large communal mailboxes.
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.
There have been several attempts to make over the postal service to be a more profitable venture. Earlier this year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren voiced her support for a proposal that would allow the USPS to use its infrastructure to extend basic banking needs, including debit cards and small-dollar loans, to consumes who are ignored by the banking industry.
A white paper issued by the Postal Service Office of the Inspector General suggested that USPS could make $9 billion annually by partnering with banks to offer the service.
Committee OKs end to door-slot mail for millions [Associated Press]