Local
4:07 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Bill in Congress could save Buffalo postal center

U.S Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand say the postal reform bill passed by the Seante Wednesday would keep Buffalo's main mail processing center open for at least three years, if it becomes law.

The overhaul legislation passed with a 62-37 vote. It gives the financially-troubled U.S. Postal Service an $11 billion cash infusion and delays decisions on closing post offices and ending Saturday delivery.

A few months ago, the U.S. Postal Service announced it would close more than 200 mail processing centers to save money. Buffalo's William Street Mail Processing Facility, which employs nearly 700 people, is slated for closure next year. Local mail would be processed in Rochester, ending local overnight delivery for much of the area.

The 21st Century Postal Service Act states that for at least three years, the Postal Service would not be allowed to close or consolidate processing facilities.

The issue now goes to the House, which has yet to consider a separate bill. In a statement, Rep. Brian Higgins says:

“Bottom line, the legislation approved by the Senate, while not perfect, saves thousands of jobs in Western New York.  Yesterday’s passages crosses one hurdle in the necessary path toward postal reform and now I will fight for the House of Representatives to approve legislation that keeps the United States Postal Facility strong and viable and fulfills our goal of keeping the William Street facility open.” 

The Postal Service is criticizing a bill, saying the measure ``falls far short'' and would do little to stem financial losses.  Its board of governors called the Senate bill ``totally inappropriate,'' saying it would keep unneeded mail facilities open.
 

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report