Yesterday was the deadline for comments concerning the Postal Regulatory Commission’s 701 Report, which the Commission is required to prepare at least every five years, under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA).
As the Commission explains in its notice seeking comments, the 701 Report is directed to the President and Congress, and it is supposed to address (1) the operation of the amendments made by PAEA; and (2) recommendations for any legislation or other measures necessary to improve the effectiveness or efficiency of the postal laws of the United States.
The notice reviews the numerous recommendations that the Commission made in its previous 701 report, back in 2011. These included allowing the Postal Service to add new market dominant classes of mail, allowing the Postal Service to introduce new non postal services (with adequate safeguards to reduce the potential for the introduction of unprofitable products), and requiring the Postal Service to consult with the Commission not only in establishing service standards for market dominant products, but also when seeking to change existing service standards. These recommendations have not been realized, however, because new legislation has stalled for the past five years.
For the 2016 report, the Commission has invited comments on the following topics:
- Postal Service Financial Situation
- Market Dominant Rate System
- Competitive Rate System
- Negotiated Service Agreements
- Post Office Closing/Consolidation Procedures
- Service Standards
- Nonpostal Services
- The Postal Service Fund and the Postal Service Competitive Products Fund
- Advisory Opinion Process
- Market Tests
- Universal Service Obligation and the Postal Monopoly
- Requirement of a Public Representative
- Requirement of Commission Inspector General
Those who filed comments yesterday represent a cross-section of the stakeholders in the postal industry — big mailers and their associations, partner-competitors like UPS, citizens groups and think tanks, and the postal worker unions. Also filing comments were a couple of private individuals (including yours truly).
Here’s a list of those who filed comments. The links take you to the comments on the PRC website.