Congressman Raúl Grijalva plans to introduce a bill that would prevent the U.S. Postal Service from closing down post offices or or other mail facilities functioning in "high-growth" ZIP codes. That would include Tucson Cherrybell mail center, which could shutter by 2016 as part of the Postal Service's efforts to save money.
The Postal Service announced the consolidation plans in 2011. Since 2013, rather than processing mail at Cherrybell, the USPS has shipped all outgoing Tucson mail to Phoenix prior to distribution, even if the mail has a Tucson address. The second phase of the consolidation, which was originally planned for 2015 but has now been delayed until next year, will reduce functions at Cherrybell to limited retail operations and little-to-no mail processing.
With Grijalva's bill—co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat from the Phoenix area—the Postal Service would have to collaborate with the Department of Commerce to make sure a community that's rapidly growing isn't negatively affected by the closure of a mail center, a press release from Grijalva's office said.
“Closing postal facilities in high-growth localities like Tucson threatens jobs and undermines timely delivery in the exact places where we should be doing the opposite,” Grijalva said in a statement. “Our goal should be to catalyze economic development, not stunt it in the fastest growing population centers in the country. The employees of Cherrybell, residents and businesses of Tucson, and the people of Arizona deserve better than haphazard facility closures that undermine the basic services of our society.”
Last month, Grijalva led members of the Arizona congressional delegation in sending a bipartisan letter to Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan, asking her to respond to the recent results of a survey by Tucson residents and businesses
, where of 1,700 of people who took it, more than 80 percent of people reported noticeable delay in their mail delivery services (including senior citizens saying they weren't getting their medicine delivered on time) since phase 1 of the consolidation began.
Grijalva introduced a similar bill back in 2012.