Alaskan Delegation Works With USPS; Reaches Agreement On Future Of Bypass Mail Program

Washington, D.C. – Alaska’s Congressional Delegation is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with the Postmaster General over bypass mail rates.  Included in an 84 page report from the Postal Regulatory Commission is the acknowledgment that the Alaska Congressional Delegation has expressed concern with the pending rate increase.  In response, “the Postal Service indicates that it is working with shippers and air carriers in Alaska to change and simplify the acceptance of bypass mail.”  The Alaskan Congressional Delegation requested that mail be charged at a maximum of the 70 lb rate, and this is what has been delivered by the Postmaster General.   
Currently, bypass mail parcels in Alaska are either bundled and charged at their bundled rate or simply charged at their individual rate and loaded on pallets.  With the May 11 price increase, those same parcels would cost $15.37 per parcel, up from the previous price of $11.54.  Under the new plan, bypass mail parcels will not be bundled or individually metered, but rather presented to USPS on a full pallet with the weight being divided by the 70 lb rate to determine the postage.  By unbundling the packages, the price will only increase by roughly 12-17% as opposed to the 40% rate increase originally anticipated.
“I understand that the Postal Service is under incredible stress in these difficult economic times,” said Rep. Young.  “I appreciate the attention they have paid to this important issue and that they were willing to work with us on a compromise.  Times are tough across the country, but especially in rural Alaska where the terrain and weather bring new challenges and they are so dependant on bypass mail for basic necessities and food.  This could have been disastrous for the people in these areas, and I’m thankful a solution has been found.”
“I also recognize the Postal Service is losing substantial amounts of money, but I am gratified that the Postmaster General has adopted the alternative that would substantially reduce the bypass mail rate increase for Alaska,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski.  “While the increase is still substantial, it is much lower than originally proposed.  Bypass mail is critical for rural Alaska and the increase that was proposed would have had a devastating effect on many communities that are already burdened with high transportation and energy costs. The alternative plan was an innovative solution and I appreciate the work of all involved to adopt this new proposal.”
“Bypass mail is vital to rural Alaskans because it helps deliver essential goods to those who live in some of the most remote and expensive regions of the nation. I’m grateful the Postal Service listened to both Alaska’s congressional delegation and private sector air cargo companies and recognized an innovative way to reduce costs while still delivering bypass mail,” Sen. Mark Begich said. “This compromise holds down what could have been a prohibitive increase in mail rates at a time when rural Alaskans are already struggling with record costs for basics like food and fuel.”
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