The Senate this week is debating the future of the U.S.?Postal Service, and the fate of mail processing centers around the country. We have reason to hope senators are able to at least delay the planned closings and cutbacks that would hurt rural North Dakotans.
The Senate bill would give the Postal Service an $11 billion cash infusion, while cutting in half the number of mail processing center closures, slow or stop many post office closings by forcing the agency to consider the needs of rural communities and requiring the Postal Service to wait at least two years before reducing mail delivery to five days a week.
No doubt there are post offices and mail processing centers in the country that could or should be closed, for monetary or efficiency reasons. But the delays would give the Postal Service the time to more thoroughly study areas in unique situations, like Minot.
At a time when statistics show northwest North Dakota is among the fastest growing areas in the nation, closing the processing center in Minot makes no sense. If anything, the Postal Service should be expanding its services in this part of the state, in order to make itself a more viable and useful entity to the growing population and the wave of new businesses making their way into the state as part of the ongoing oil boom.
Let's hope senators are able to be the voice of reason in this issue, at least where rural states and booming areas like northwest North Dakota are concerned, where, despite its financial problems, the Postal Service remains a vital part of everyday life for residents and businesses alike.