WASHINGTON, DC — The below remarks are as prepared for delivery by Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy during the open session meeting of the Postal Service Board of Governors on Feb. 8, 2022.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us today.
I would first like to Congratulate Chairman Martinez on successfully Chairing his first Board meeting.
I would also like to thank all the members of our Board of Governors and recognize them for their service to the Postal Service and to the Nation.
I, and the Management team look forward to your continued consultation as we move forward with the many initiatives underway at the Postal Service.
As we progress into 2022, the Postal Service continues to make progress on many of the initiatives identified in its Delivering for America Plan.
Of specific note is the coming National Rollout of our USPS Connect Program that will engage every function of our organization to provide exciting new ways for individuals, small businesses and large national shippers to use the Postal Service. We will build upon our success this peak season to continue to improve our service and grow our revenue serving mail and package customers in an integrated offering.
Other important initiatives include improvements to our operating network and Information technology infrastructure. Significant focus is required in these areas to make us successful after years of under investment.
As you may have read, we are also working on improvements to our delivery network that reaches 161 million addresses around the nation 6 days a week. An impressive daily accomplishment that serves the American people in such a vital way but continues to be jeopardized by our financial condition.
We have an urgent need to replace our 30-year-old delivery vehicles that are powered by inefficient gasoline engines and that lack modern day safety features.
We are also required by law to be self-sufficient.
Because of these critical responsibilities and given our large fiscal deficits and significant financial challenges, we have proposed an action, which we are evaluating under NEPA, that includes a plan for the initial order of 5,000 electric vehicles.
This plan also builds in the flexibility to increase the number of electric vehicles should additional funding become available-from internal generation through profitable operations or through Congressional appropriation-should Congress decide to fund this initiative as a matter of public policy.
But we cannot at this time count on additional funding, and in our current state we have to be mindful of what we can afford, and to recognize that the total cost of ownership for electric vehicles is substantially higher than vehicles with fuel efficient internal combustion engines, particularly considering the electric vehicle infrastructure that we would have to build-out and fund.
This level of commitment to an electric fleet in our proposed action is frankly ambitious given the pressing vehicle and safety needs of our aging fleet and our dire financial condition.
We need to make fiscally responsible decisions based upon our present ability to fund the purchase, that result in the much needed introduction of safer and environmentally cleaner vehicles for the men and women who deliver America’s mail.
We are confident that our Next Generation Delivery Vehicle program (NGDV) will introduce vehicles that are much safer and significantly more environmentally friendly than the vehicle fleet we operate today.
Importantly, the NGDV program will also jump-start the process of the electrification of our delivery fleet as quickly as our current resources and infrastructure will allow.
We are committed to completing the NEPA process. In doing so, for the reasons I have noted, we are compelled to act prudently in the interests of the American public.
However, that responsibility should not be mistaken for an ambivalent commitment to operating a cleaner Postal vehicle fleet for our country. As with everything else we now do –
We will be resolute in making decisions that are grounded in our financial situation and what we can realistically achieve.
We will continue to push hard to take delivery of safer, cleaner vehicles by next year.
Another important initiative under the Delivering for America Plan is the passage of the Postal Reform legislation which should be before the House for a vote today. We are excited about the bi-partisan progress we have seen in the last couple of weeks and I especially would like to thank Chairwoman Maloney and Ranking Member Comer for their leadership over this past year in making this long overdue legislation a reality.
Should the legislation pass the House this week- I am hopeful that the Senate votes on it in a timely manner. I would like thank Chairman Peters and Ranking Member Portman for their co-sponsorship of parallel legislation in the Senate and look forward to their continued leadership in passing this legislation that is vital to the United States Postal Service and the American People.
And finally, as you may have read or experienced, the Postal Service continues to work with the Biden Administration to accomplish the distribution of COVID test kits to the American people. Tens of millions of test kits have been delivered throughout the Nation and we are proud to work with our partners at the White House, the Department of Health and Human Service and the Department of Defense in this major effort to protect the American people.
I would like to thank our leadership team and all of the 640,000 women and men of the United States Postal Service for their committed service in our journey to improve our performance and achieve financial sustainability.
I am proud to work alongside all of you in our service to the American people.
Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, as you know I now must excuse myself to attend required meeting on Capitol Hill in connection with the proposed legislation. I again thank you and the rest of the Governors for your support during this important time for the Postal Service.”