WASHINGTON (July 22, 2019)—Throughout the last year, the Postal Regulatory Commission and the Presidential Task Force on Postal Reform have made calls for legislative clarification of the U.S. Postal Service’s universal service obligation.

In a new policy study, R Street Transportation and Infrastructure Policy Fellow Nick Zaiac discusses how defining universal service would give USPS a clear mission as it adapts to falling mail volumes. Zaiac argues that the way universal service in telecommunications is defined provides a model for defining universal mail service moving forward. He also suggests incorporating feedback from state-level officials as a way to help USPS better target rural mail subsidies.

He concludes by stating, “What history has shown is that universal mail service has meant many different things over the centuries. And now, as the Postal Service faces the prospects of permanent decline, Congress may see value in giving postal stakeholders some formal guidance on how they should proceed.”