USPS Board Approves 7.7 Percent Rate Increase

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The U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors yesterday accepted the Postal Rate Commission's recommendation to increase postal rates an average of 7.7 percent on June 30.

The increase will generate $4.16 billion in additional revenue for the USPS.

Regular Standard Mail rates would increase an average of 7.8 percent; Nonprofit Standard, 6.6 percent; Commercial Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail, 6.2 percent; and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail, 6.5 percent.

Though this would be the third round of increases in 18 months, after increases in January and July 2001, postmaster general John E. Potter reiterated the pledge he made last week that there would be no more postal rate increases before calendar 2004.

"This rate change came through an unprecedented settlement between the postal service and the mailing industry which allowed the Postal Rate Commission to expedite the case and the new rates to be implemented earlier than they would have," board chairman Robert F. Rider said. "The settlement agreement with the industry was in recognition of the urgent financial needs of the postal service in light of the terrorist attacks and the downturn in the economy."

The PRC also approved a 3-cent increase on the price of a First-Class stamp, which equates to a 7.7 percent increase; 6.4 percent for Parcel Post; 10.3 percent for periodicals sent outside counties; 13.5 percent for Priority Mail; 9.4 percent for Express Mail; and 9 percent for Bound Printed Matter.

In other changes, Priority Mail will have a new, 1-pound flat rate at $3.85. Postage for heavier pieces will vary by zone. An 8-ounce flat rate Express Mail letter will be $13.65. Customers who mail First-Class Mail parcels, will now be able to buy Delivery Confirmation or Signature Confirmation.

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