Concerns Expressed Over Postal
Prices to Change on May 11
March 04, 2009
(SitNews) - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin today urged the postmaster
general not to increase parcel post and bypass mail rates. In
a letter to Postmaster General John Potter, Governor Palin outlined
her concerns regarding the rate increases that are to be enacted
on May 11.
"Alaska has more than 258 airports serving as the primary
mode of transportation, and the only means of access for more
than 160 remote and isolated communities, wrote Palin in the
letter to Potter. " Our rural residents have been besieged
by a poor subsistence harvest and high energy prices compounded
by an exceptionally cold winter. Although it may not be the intent,
the new 4th class mail rate structure will raise the already
high cost of living further and effectively cripple the already
fragile bypass mail system."
Palin wrote, "Residents of the most remote parts of our
state are struggling with high fuel prices and the ability to
provide food for their families. This postal rate increase has
an exponentially greater impact on Alaskans than those in other
states due to the reliance of Alaskans on the bypass mail system
for food and supplies. Please take this into account before making
any final decision on increasing parcel post rates that are utilized
under the essential bypass mail system."
The Governors of the U.S. Postal
Service approved new prices for mailing services, including a
2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail stamp to 44
cents. Prices for mailing services are reviewed annually and
adjusted each May. The new prices will go into effect Monday,
Customers can continue to mail
letters at today's prices by purchasing the Forever Stamp before
May 11. Forever Stamps were developed to help consumers ease
the transition during price changes. Forever Stamps do not have
a denomination and will be honored whenever they are used with
no need for additional postage for a one-ounce letter mailing.
On May 11 the price of the Forever Stamp will be 44 cents.
Rising operational costs make
the price adjustments necessary; the increase tracks the 2008
rate of inflation. "The Postal Service is not immune to
rising costs which are affecting homes and businesses across
America today," said Postmaster General John Potter. "Even
with the increases, the Postal Service continues to offer some
of the lowest postage prices in the world."
Alaska's Congressional Delegation
also sent a letter to Postmaster General Potter on Monday to
express their concern with the pending rate increases and their
effect on the Alaska bypass mail system.
"Rural Alaskans are being hit very hard by the economic
downturn we have faced this past year," said Rep. Don Young
(R-AK). "Receiving basic goods is not the same in the villages
of Alaska as it is in most areas of the Lower 48. People that
live in these areas are having a hard enough time making ends
meet and these price increases will only make things more difficult.
I ask the Postmaster General to please give this situation careful
consideration before making his final decision."
"While I recognize the Postal Service lost a significant
amount of revenue last year, bypass mail is the lifeblood of
rural Alaska," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said. "It
moves most of the consumable goods and has stabilized the cost
of living in rural Alaska. We must find a way to keep the costs
down while still providing the same level of service. I am committed
to working with the Postal Service, shippers and the communities
to find ways to save money and gain efficiencies without making
the cost of living in rural Alaska even higher."
"I have heard from individuals and communities across Alaska
who are worried about the potential impacts of this postal increase.
On top of the already record-high prices they are paying for
basics like food and fuel, this increase will just be too much,"
Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) said. "It would be devastating to
many rural communities that rely on bypass mail. We need to find
a way to lower the cost and keep bypass mail viable."
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