GAO: Ending Saturday mail could save bilions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Postal service could save a substantial amount of money by reducing mail delivery to five days, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday.

The post office, which lost $8.5 billion last year, has proposed eliminating Saturday delivery as one of several moves aimed at reducing costs.

Postal officials have estimated the change would save $3.1 billion annually, and a new GAO study agreed that savings would be large, depending on how efficiently the cutback is handled.

In its analysis, GAO looked back at postal operations in 2009 and calculated that if there had been no Saturday delivery that year the post office would have saved $3.3 billion.

“We are pleased to see they agree that the Postal Service is likely to achieve significant cost savings if this change were to be effected, and that much of its success depends on how efficiently it is implemented. We agree and believe that having completed a lengthy planning process, we are prepared to make that happen,” Patrick R. Donahoe, the postmaster general, said in a statement.

The GAO report comes just days after the independent Postal Regulatory Commission issued its own report, calculating that the post office had overstated its projected savings from ending Saturday delivery by $1.4 billion.

The final decision on Saturday delivery will be made by Congress.

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