The United States Postal Service has been operating at a cumulative loss of $20 billion, with debts climbing to a whopping $13 billion, according to the USPS’s 2011 Report to Congress and Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations
David Williams, Inspector General for the USPS, said in a letter to Congress that outdated mail routes have accounted for “almost 90 percent of the $20 billion loss in the past 4 years,” according to the USPS website.
Optimized mail routes, flexible work hours, in addition to “finding the Postal Service’s role in the digital age,” will strengthen America’s infrastructure, Williams wrote.
Williams wrote that the USPS needs to be reformed or it will be “billed into insolvency while over-funding its benefits plan.”
Yet, Congress has yet to pass any legislation.
Scott Bennett, Penn State department head of political science, said that Congress has put the USPS in an impossible situation — the USPS has proposed a five-day mail week, but Congress won't act on it.
He said there still seems to be a demand for the mail despite email.
“It costs the same to mail a letter to Alaska as it does across town and that is unique,” Bennett said. “The American people don't want to pay for what they're getting and that is why there is a deficit.”
Mike Herr, the mailman at the campus post office known to students as "Mike the Mailman,” described the post office as a friendly place that is personable and is dynamic.
He said he has been working for the post office for 44 years and is eligible for retirement.
“A lot of people meet at the post office and a lot of people sit outside and talk,” Herr said.
The people in charge and the media don't understand that there is a better way of doing things than by simply cutting routes, he said.
Herr said that because of online marketplaces, there is a greater volume of mail because students send their books and other things through the post office.
"It's nice to send a card in the mail and it's more personal than email," he said. "Call me old fashioned but I still pay my bills through the mail."
Alexa Woolcock (senior-animal science) said that she usually contacts her friends by phone, but she does send letters to her fiancé in the military.
She said the post office in her hometown is only open a few hours and it's difficult to get there with a full day’s work.
"People are used to things being free and that is a problem," she said. "We still need the post office to mail packages. It's not that expensive."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
To email reporter: email@example.com