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The Southern Peach
Rural mail already suffering as more plants set to close
By Justin R. Lessman (January 29, 2015)
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The U.S. Postal Service is legally obligated to serve all Americans uniformly regardless of geography.

It is hard to believe the USPS will be able to meet this obligation in light of a series of planned mail processing plant closures later this year. In fact, in Jackson County, it is already falling short.

The USPS will close more than 80 mail processing plants in 2015, with smaller, regional plants being consolidated into urban facilities. The postal service already closed nearly 150 plants over the past three years and says service has not been affected.

This is not true.

In May 2013, Jackson County residents were promised the first phase of closure of the Mankato mail processing plant would not significantly affect delivery times. Almost immediately after the change took effect on June 1, reports began to surface locally of late credit card payments, belated business invoices and seven-, eight-, even nine-day newspaper delivery delays.

The planned shuttering of the Mankato mail processing facility in July will only make things worse for the people of Jackson County. All mail will now be routed to Minneapolis, where it will endure longer road trips both ways, be slowed by urban traffic delays and face a greater chance of being lost in a much larger shuffle.

The USPS has admitted this impending change will slow delivery by one day for all first-class and periodicals mail. While the announcement is most unwelcome, it is legally permissible, as long as everyone — urban and rural — shares the pain.

However, those of us in Jackson County — and much of rural America — have been suffering for the last year and a half.

That’s not fair. Or legal.
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