During the moratorium, scheduled to end on May 15, 2012, the USPS will continue to study the impact of proposed closures on service and costs, and to hold public input meetings in communities.
The USPS decision comes after Udall and Bennet, along with 20 other senators, sent a letter last week calling on Senate leadership to mandate a six-month moratorium in the next appropriations bill. In an effort to reduce costs and up revenue, the USPS has been considering closing or consolidating about 70 post offices and four mail processing centers across Colorado. The senators have been working with postal service officials and community members to mitigate the effects of closing post offices, especially in rural parts of the state that depend on them for small-business needs, a means of voting, and getting everyday living necessities.
The moratorium gives Congress a chance to enact reforms that shore up the long-term viability of the USPS while protecting communities across the country.
“I'm glad the Postal Service is giving Congress some time to reach a viable long-term solution to deal with the USPS’s budget shortfall in a way that softens the impact on rural communities in Colorado and across the country,” Udall said. “Post offices anchor the daily activities and local economies in so many of America’s small towns. Now that we have a five-month reprieve, I’ll keep working to find creative ways to maintain quality access to post office services for Colorado’s small towns and small businesses.”
“This moratorium will give Congress time to find a long-term solution to place the Postal Service on a more secure financial trajectory,” said Bennet. “Post offices play a vital role in rural communities and small towns across Colorado. I am happy that we have an opportunity to reexamine the current proposal and hopefully reduce the burden facing so many rural communities.”
Last month, Udall and Bennet wrote a letter to Senate committee leaders urging them to consider Western states and rural communities when exploring potential reforms to the USPS. In the letter, the senators outlined priorities for reform that encourage innovation, take creative approaches to existing assets and maintain the competitive edge. In June, they sent a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General expressing concern over USPS location closures and consolidations that could make it more difficult for Coloradans to send letters and mail packages. In September, they sent a letter to Ruth Goldway, chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, urging the Postal Regulatory Commission to carefully consider the effects of possible postal service closures on rural areas and small towns in Colorado and across the country.