By-pass mail by-passed in new postal reform bill

by Angela Denning-Barnes on November 4, 2011

Senator Lisa Murkowski says she’s cautiously optimistic for Alaska keeping its by-pass mail. Her comments came after a bipartisan postal reform bill introduced this week by members of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over the U.S. Postal Service does not make changes to the bypass mail service in Alaska.

Still, Murkowski says they have a long way to go to ensure that the critical and unique Alaskan service continues, according to her office.

Alaska’s by-pass mail system, which was championed by late Senator Ted Stevens, has been under attack in recent years. The program costs the Postal Service about $70 million a year.

Legislation recently introduced in the House of Representatives would require Alaska to pay the postal service for that cost.

Bypass mail allows rural Alaskans to receive supplies like food and mail for cheaper rates.
According to Murkowski’s office, the program was instituted to keep the promise in the U.S. Constitution of universal service by a postal authority.

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