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Sen. Carper talks about the future of the U.S. Postal Service

5 people wearing hardhats and masks in a line at a construction site. Most of them have shovels in hand.
Roman Battaglia / Delaware Public Media
Sen. Carper at the groundbreaking of the new post office facility in Dover

Sen. Tom Carper visited Dover Monday to help break ground on the city’s new post office. 

The new 20,000-square-foot postal facility in Dover should be ready in about a year - at the cost of $7.5 million .  

Carper has consistently been an advocate for the Postal Service throughout his political career, citing its importance to him when serving in Vietnam.

Carper says the USPS is seeing a surge in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic.

“And the Postal Service has seen an increase in their package volumes in the past 5-6 months because of COVID-19," said Carper. "In adversity lies opportunity and in this case opportunity for the Postal Service to do what it does very well; Go to every door, every mailbox in the country 6, 7 times a week and that’s what they’ve continued to do.”

Carper adds Postal Service’s goal should be to shift its priorities to meet the nation’s changing needs. 

With first class mail demand dropping rapidly, he sees the Postal Service becoming a more package based and last-mile service in the future, able to deliver to places companies like UPS and Fedex don’t see as profitable to serve.

He also noted another way it’s changing to meet consumer demands during COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the things I don’t think most of us thought much about ten, fifteen years ago that the postal service could do is deliver medicine. And deliver medicine to millions of homes across the country. A lot of times to senior citizens but many times to folks," Carper said. "Do so in a way that’s fast, timely, dependable. And that has turned out to be a great boon for folks of all ages in our country, even in a pandemic.”

Carper adds the Postal Service has yet to use any of the $10 Million loan allocated to it by Congress for Coronavirus relief, because it has seen that increase in package shipping revenues during the pandemic.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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