Murkowski “Cautiously Optimistic” in Bypass Mail Battle

Senator Commends Postal Reform Bill That Keeps Promise of Universal Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today applauded the fact that the bipartisan postal reform bill introduced this week by members of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over the U.S. Postal Service – which does not make changes to the U.S. Postal Service’s bypass mail service in Alaska.  “We have a ways to go in terms of ensuring that this critical and unique Alaskan service continues to benefit urban and rural Alaska,” said Murkowski.  “But I am cautiously optimistic that my Senate colleagues have responded to my concerns and momentum is building to protect bypass mail.”

Legislation recently introduced in the House of Representatives would require Alaska to pay the USPS for the costs of bypass mail in Alaska – a $70 million/year service for Alaskans off the road system who cannot get their mail through other means. Bypass mail was instituted to keep the promise grounded in the U.S. Constitution of universal service by a postal authority.

In September, Sen. Murkowski wrote to the key members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, detailing the challenges of delivering mail to Alaska’s rural communities.  “Bypass mail was developed to assist both the Postal Service and the residents of rural communities with their need to send and receive mail, food, medicine, and supplies in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Alaska businesses also rely on bypass mail to facilitate commerce throughout the state,” Murkowski wrote.  “Congress should not treat citizens of one state differently from those in another state.  The Founding Fathers included post offices in the Constitution, and Congress has mandated that ‘the Postal Service shall provide a maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to rural areas.”

A copy of Sen. Murkowski’s September letter is attached.