Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House committee holds hearing on USPS fleet

Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing to discuss issues facing civilian and Postal Service vehicle fleets.

As it related to the Postal Service, the discussion focused on a range of possibilities for moving forward with replacing Long-Life Vehicles (LLVs) and other vehicles. Discussion topics included how many vehicles need to be replaced, in what manner USPS would replace them, studies on the prototype toward which the Postal Service has been working, costs of replacing vehicles, and innovative strategies to incorporate into new vehicles.

Witnesses at the hearing included:

  • GSA Dir. of the Office of Motor Vehicle Management William Toth Jr.
  • GAO Dir. of Physical Infrastructure Issues Lori Rectanus
  • USPS CFO and Exec. VP Joseph Corbett
  • NAFA Fleet Management Association Dir. of Professional Development Kate M. Vigneau

In its testimony, the Postal Service stated that, in assessing the need for a new fleet of vehicles, the top priorities are to enhance safety, reduce emissions and ensure a durable long life.

According to USPS, the average age of an LLV is 23 years—the original lifespan was estimated at 24 years.

Additionally, the Postal Service emphasized its intent to adapt vehicles for mixed delivery, meaning the agency wants a vehicle that would be suitable for a variety of different routes—urban, rural, etc. USPS discussed its preference to purchase 180,000 new vehicles to replace the current ones but indicated a willingness to replace the fleet in stages.

A consistent theme throughout the hearing was the issue of pre-funding as well as the financial state of the Postal Service, something that had led to a decision in 2011 to postpone replacement of the vehicle fleet.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Gerald Connolly (D-VA) reinforced the idea that USPS is the only company with the requirement to provide a “100-percent health pre-payment” for future retirees. If the pre-funding requirement were repealed, Connolly said, it would save roughly $5 billion annually for the Postal Service.

Connolly asked Corbett whether USPS was operating at a profit.

“Factoring in other non-controllable, non-cash workers’ compensation adjustments, yes, we would have shown an operating profit,” Corbett replied.

“One of the things we have to do in Congress, to unlock some capital, is to get rid of the onerous pre-payment burden,” Connolly said. “Only Congress can really address that.”

For more information on the hearing, click here.

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