- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2003

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Money-losing post offices, many in small towns, could be closed under the recommendations of a presidential commission that sees a better future for mail services in shopping malls, banks and grocery stores.

The commission also wants more freedom for the Postal Service to raise rates. It rejects the idea of making it a private company.

The final report of the President’s Commission on the United States Postal Service, formed by President Bush to study the agency and make recommendations for its future, is scheduled by the end of the month.

The commission began voting on its recommendations yesterday, approving several that could have far-reaching impact on virtually all Americans if accepted by Congress and the president.

Likely to generate controversy is a proposal to create a commission to study the postal network and recommend closings and consolidations of offices.

With some 35,000 offices across the country, the Postal Service has long sought to close offices it considers unnecessary, but has often been thwarted by Congress when communities complained that their post offices were vital even if they did lose money.

With that in mind, the panel recommended that any list of closings and consolidations take effect unless rejected in its entirety by Congress within 45 days.

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