USPS proposes cutting hours at rural Alaska post offices

Becky BohrerAssociated Press

JUNEAU -- The U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday proposed cutting hours at dozens of rural Alaska post offices.

The proposal is part of a plan announced by the cash-strapped agency to keep the nation's smallest post offices open while providing cost savings.

While some Alaska post offices would see either an increase in hours or be unchanged, most on the list -- nearly 90 -- would see hours cut.

Not included on the list are five Alaska post offices that had earlier been eyed for possible closure or consolidation.

Before the list was released, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich said he was frustrated by the agency's approach, which he termed a quick fix. He called on the House to pass a bill that cleared the Senate that he said would help put the agency back on more solid financial footing.

The Postal Service said in a news release the plan would be implemented over two years and completed by September 2014. At that point, the agency said it estimates savings of $500 million a year.

The Postal Service has forecast a loss of $14.1 billion by the end of this year and said that without changes annual losses could exceed $21 billion by 2016.

Under the emerging strategy, no post office would be closed. But more than 13,000 rural mail facilities could see reduced operations of between two and six hours.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Associated Press