Sen. Murkowski Criticizes U.S. Postal Service Cut in Alaska
The U.S. Postal Service has lost billions of dollars this year alone. Now, officials are making cuts nationwide, including in Alaska.
Billions of dollars—That's how much money the U.S. Postal Service has lost just this year.
Now, officials are making cuts across the nation and here in Alaska, which has Alaskans worried about services as some say the cost-cutting measures just don't add up.
Some Alaskans are up in arms over the decision to close down a mail processing plant and relocate Alaska's western-area distribution network office to Denver.
“This is a couple thousand miles away, two time zones away, and the folks in Denver would be dealing with an operation in the state of Alaska that is different than the rest of the country,” she said.
It’s a fight that U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has joined telling the head of the post office that the decision threatens a key part of Alaska living.
Sen. Murkowski emphasized that regular mail delivery is critical to daily operations from “communications to getting our prescription drugs.”
But post office officials say ther eis no need to worry.
“We have been training someone to assume those duties here that already works in the Alaska-based transportation department. There really shouldn't be any negative impact to the air carriers…the person already has a full understanding of the unique issues in Alaska,” said Pamela Moody of the U.S. Postal Service.
Sen. Murkowski said that while customers may not see an immediate change, she is concerned about the “kind of the long-range plan for the U.S. Postal Service role for Alaska.”
Alaska only has two mail processing plants left, and with the Juneau office possibly on the chopping block, what will that mean for those who depend on the mail?
“The postal service has a goal of getting the mail delivered overnight if it’s within a 50-mile area. Well, Alaska is a pretty big place,” said Jim Raymond, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers in Anchorage.
With fewer operations around a state as big as Alaska, the time it will take for Alaskans to receive packages and letters may be delayed.
Raymond explained that if a Bethel resident wanted to mail a letter across the street, that piece of mail would be transported to Anchorage, processed at the Anchorage processing facility and then flown back to Bethel to be delivered.
“It was important to me to bring it to the highest level in the post office and make sure they know we are paying attention to how mail service and delivery is handled in the state of Alaska,” said Sen. Murkowski.
She also opposes altering the six-day delivery system, a change that the U.S. Postal Service is still considering to save money.