Postal Board Approves $289M Facility, Supports Commission Report

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A new 910,000 square-foot processing and distribution center will replace an existing Depression-era facility in Philadelphia, the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors announced yesterday.

At its meeting in Portland, ME, the board approved $289.2 million to fund the new center, scheduled to open in 2006. It will replace a facility that opened in 1935 and is located across from the 30th Street train station.

The new processing and distribution center will serve the 190-192 ZIP code areas. It will include a vehicle maintenance facility and a warehouse on a site to be determined.

In other action, the board praised the presidential postal commission, saying it made "difficult choices" in issuing a 208-page report last week urging reforms to the USPS.

Chairman S. David Fineman said the board would examine the report in the coming weeks. The report recommended numerous changes to the postal service including labor reforms, increased modernization and automation, new rules to make it easier to close post offices and a new corporate board of directors.

The board recommended the creation of the postal reform commission last year.

Other announcements from the board yesterday included:

* Approval of two enhancements to the postal service's AFSM 100 automated flats sorting machines, including one that will apply a label with a unique ID code to each piece of non-bar-coded flats mail and an automated flats tray handling system.

* The USPS achieved a 95 percent on-time delivery rate for overnight First-Class mail during the third quarter 2003 ended May 16, breaking all previous records and extending its streak of quarters with First-Class on-time delivery rates of 94 percent and above to five.


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