As reported in the Herald, the Manasota Postal Distribution Center will remain open through the calendar year. Rep. Vern Buchanan and local residents and civic leaders who voiced concerns about mail being slowed deserve praise.
But with the facility's future uncertain, as also noted, your readers need to know this: Plans to close this processing plant (and 81 others around the country) rest on a false premise.
The Postal Service is said to be losing billions of dollars because the Internet has reduced mail, so letters must be slowed, Saturday delivery ended, and door-to-door delivery replaced by cluster boxes.
In fact, Postal Service operations are profitable -- with fiscal year 2014's $1.4 billion operating profit already surpassed in 2015.
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As the economy improves, letter revenue is rising; as folks in Bradenton and elsewhere shop online, package revenue is skyrocketing.
The red ink stems from congressional politics. In 2006, a lame-duck Congress mandated that the Postal Service prefund retiree health benefits.
No other agency or company has to prefund for even one year; the Postal Service must prefund 75 years into the future and pay for it all in a 10-year period. That $5.6 billion annual charge is the red ink.
Degrading postal networks that have returned to profitability ignores the problem and is counterproductive.
Residents would wander neighborhoods seeking cluster boxes. Florida's small businesses wouldn't receive orders or checks on Saturday.
The Postal Service would lose revenue. And the state would lose jobs.
The national mailing industry, reliant on a robust, six-days-a-week Postal Service, employs 7.5 million Americans in the private sector -- including 480,104 Floridians.
Bradenton, a county seat, deserves to retain its processing facility. Floridians should press lawmakers to preserve the profitable postal networks while addressing the pre-funding fiasco.
Then the Postal Service can continue to offer Americans the world's most affordable delivery network.
Fredric Rolando, President, National Association of Letter Carriers Washington, D.C.