The Washington Times - January 21, 2014, 11:59AM

The U.S. Postal Service could face $1.4 billion in repair work if it hopes to keep its facilities safely operating, according to a report released Monday.

The evaluation on the mail delivery services’ infrastructure showed that the cash-strapped agency has been reducing its maintenance and repair budget in an effort to save funds, cutting $382 million between 2009 and 2012, according to the USPS Inspector General.

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“The U.S. Postal Service’s financial challenges have made it hard to maintain facilities,” the IG said. “Our recent audit report found about half of the incomplete repairs represent safety or security issues.”

Investigators said some of the needed repairs could pose health hazards, but USPS officials said they are putting a priority on repairs to fix any safety and security problems first to ensure that customers and Postal Service employees are not at risk.

According to the inspector general, the Postal Service spent 29 percent less than the industry average on repairs in 2012. USPS operates about 32,000 facilities nationwide, with 280 million square feet that it must constantly upkeep.