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Tucson postal center remains on potential closings list

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Tucson postal center remains on potential closings list

Consolidations could begin this summer; Cherrybell sorting facility targeted

  • A mail sorting assembly line.
    jmv/FlickrA mail sorting assembly line.

The U.S. Postal Service announced earlier this week that it intends to move forward with its plan to eliminate as many as 140 mail processing centers across the country that could include Tucson's Cherrybell facility in an effort to cut costs.

In a letter sent Thursday to Rep. Raúl Grijalva, who introduced a bill in March to try to save the center, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said consolidation of the facilities would begin this summer and continue into early 2013.

According to Donahoe's letter, Cherrybell remains a potential closing site and its operations would be shifted to a Phoenix facilty under the plan.

"The Postal Service must pursue every avenue to bring costs in-line with revenue," Donahoe wrote in the letter. "Deferring necessary operational changes will only make the inevitable crisis more disruptive for our customers and the potential losses greater for the Postal Service."

Grijalva said the consolidation plan would not be what is best for the Postal Service in the long run.

“If this is about planning for the future, let’s really plan for the future instead of saving a penny today by costing ourselves a dollar tomorrow,” Grijalva said in a press release Thursday.

In early March, Grijalva introduced legislation that would direct the Postal Service to take "high growth" ZIP codes into account when deciding which facilities to close, but Congress has been unable to make a decision about the Postal Service's future.

“It’s easy to shake our heads and say we have to clear-cut the Postal Service to save money, but responsible lawmakers need to stop and think about how this is going to work. High-growth areas are most likely to need fast, efficient mail service down the line,” Grijalva said in Thursday's press release.

Earlier this month, Sen. John McCain sent a letter to Donahoe supporting the plan that said he believed Congress would be unable to agree on reform legislation and encouraged Donahoe "to move forward with the cost-saving changes."

Mail delivery times would increase by several days if the sorting center were closed, said City Councilman Richard Fimbres when USPS made its announcement.

In January, Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department, saying the move may disenfranchise voters who use the mail to cast their ballots.

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