Post Office Deals With Busiest Mail Day Of The Year
Win Mcnamee  /  Getty Images file
Postal worker Gregory Hixson sorts parcels in Merrifield, Virginia. The U.S. Postal Service filed a request Friday seeking higher postal rates.
updated 4/8/2005 3:13:43 PM ET 2005-04-08T19:13:43

The Postal Service filed a request Friday seeking higher rates.

The agency wants a 2-cent increase in first-class mail, and similar increases for other types of mail, to take effect early next year. It would increase the rate for regular mail to 39 cents from 37 cents.

The agency said that it is seeking the increase, 5.4 percent across the board, only because of a requirement that it establish a $3.1 billion escrow fund.

The agency has sought congressional action to eliminate that requirement. If that happens, postal officials said, the rate increase request will be withdrawn.

Postage rates last went up in 2002.

Congress mandated the escrow requirement in 2003 when it passed a law reducing the amount of money the agency has to pay into its retirement system, which auditors said was being overfunded. Instead Congress ordered the money to be put into the escrow fund.

Elimination of that fund has been included in bills that would make other changes in postal operations, but Congress has not acted on the proposals.

Friday’s rate increase request was filed with the independent Postal Rate Commission, which will now hold hearings and collect information before ruling on the proposal. That process can take as long as 10 months, meaning that if the rate increase is approved it wouldn’t take effect until early next year.

While electronic communications have meant less business for the post office, officials have said that were it not for the escrow requirement the agency would not need to seek an increase for at least another year.

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