Murkowski Fights Attempt to End Alaska’s Bypass Mail Funding

“Bypass Mail Connects Rural Alaska to our Hubs, But it Also Works the Other Way Around”

 WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Murkowski today defended the United States Postal Service’s core duty as two Congressmen push legislation that would require Alaska to pay the USPS for the costs of bypass mail in Alaska – a critical service for Alaskans off the road system who cannot get their mail through other means.

“Bypass mail connects rural Alaska to our hubs, but it also works the other way around,” Murkowski said. “Millions of dollars worth of groceries, medications, and construction supplies are ordered from Anchorage and Fairbanks and delivered to Alaskan hub communities and villages every year.”

Congressmen Issa of California and Ross of Florida introduced a substitute amendment to their Postal Reform bill Wednesday, one provision of which would require the State of Alaska to pay the U.S. Postal Service for the costs of bypass mail.  That provision reads:

“The state of Alaska, on an annual basis, shall make a payment to the postal service to reimburse the postal service for its costs in providing Alaska bypass mail service.”

Senator Murkowski has already begun taking action, by:

 Contacting her colleagues who oversee this matter in committee – Senators Lieberman (I-CT), Brown (R-MA) Carper (D-DE) and Collins (R-ME)

  • Calling on Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-HI) to hold a hearing on the matter, and
  • Writing the Postmaster General to defend bypass mail.

(All letters are attached)

Bypass mail allows pallets of supplies ordered by stores, businesses, and individuals in rural Alaska to be shipped economically and efficiently from Anchorage and Fairbanks to Alaska’s rural villages that do not have road access.  These shipments literally “bypass” the U.S. Postal Service as the shipper sends the order directly to the cargo air carrier. Last fiscal year, the Postal Service spent $100 million on bypass mail, and recouped $30 million from parcel post charges.

The U.S. Postal Service receives no federal funding.