Bill Would Limit Rural Post Office ClosuresSen. Harry Reid, D-NV, has proposed a law that would curb the U.S. Postal Service's ability to close post offices in rural areas and allot federal grants to mitigate economic effects when it does make a closure.
The bill would require the USPS to prove that closing post offices in areas with populations of less than 20,000 would have a positive effect on the economy and quality of life in the area. The USPS would have to presume that the closure would have a negative effect unless it proved otherwise.
Closing post offices in small towns "removes the hub of such communities and has a deleterious effect on the economies and quality of life of such communities," according to the bill.
If the USPS determined that a post office in a rural community should be closed, it would have to develop a plan to rehabilitate the building according to the wishes of the people of the community, according to the proposal. The bill would allocate $10 million a year from 2003 to 2007 for the USPS to award funding for such efforts.
In its recommendations unveiled last month, the postal reform commission appointed by the president argued that the USPS should be granted greater authority to close post offices when they are unprofitable.