Postal rates going up again

WASHINGTON – The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service have decided to modify the April 10 decision of the Postal Rate Commission, and to raise some postal rates that were allowed to remain the same when the cost of a first-class stamp went up in January.

The decision of the independent Postal Rate Commission last November, to raise only first class rates, was allowed to take effect under protest in early January, pending further review.

That provisional rate schedule will be replaced by a now modified rate schedule on July 1.

Under the new schedule, a one ounce first-class letter will remain the same at 34-cents, but the charge for an additional ounce will now rise to 23 cents. Postcards will increase by one cent to 21 cents, the first increase in the postcard rate since 1995.

The postal service is facing a loss this year that could exceed $2 billion due to a variety of factors, including a weakening economy and soaring fuel and personnel expenses.

The postal service has taken a number of steps, including cutting capital commitments by $1 billion this year, freezing hiring for administrative positions, and cutting programs and activity budgets. In addition, cost reductions totaling $2.5 billion through fiscal year 2003 have been targeted.

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