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Lawmakers shed light on mail delivery problems plaguing Virginia

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(The Center Square) – A bipartisan group of lawmakers from Virginia are shedding light on mail delivery service in the commonwealth, with the Richmond Regional Processing and Distribution Center under audit from the U.S. Postal Service inspector general.

The distribution center has been plagued with delays and disruptions, leading to veterans having to wait weeks to receive medication. The lawmakers authored a letter to the IG to highlight the issues ahead of an anticipated report and recommendation.

“In an effort to advocate for our constituents and help inform your investigation, we would like to highlight some examples that our offices have received of mail problems that have cost people significant time, money, and frustration,” the lawmakers noted.

In the letter, Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine were joined by Reps. Bob Good, Jen Kiggans, Jennifer McClellan, Bobby Scott, Abigail Spanberger and Rob Wittman expressed concern for the new consolidation project implemented by the USPS.

The USPS consolidation project was among the country’s first, centralizing outgoing mail and package processing.

“Since last summer, we have seen a significant uptick in mail disruptions and delays within the Richmond RPDC’s covered area,” the lawmakers wrote. “These developments are especially concerning as the Richmond RPDC was one of the first implemented consolidation projects as a part of USPS’s Delivering for America initiative. While we are always open to changes to longstanding practices to improve efficiency, the ongoing stream of reports we get suggests that the opposite is happening.”

The lawmakers spotlighted a handful of experiences from veterans, business owners and public officials who experienced significant delays or lost packages.

One of the constituents, a Vietnam veteran, waited more than six weeks to receive medication from the Veterans Administration hospital in Richmond. The veteran was initially told to expect the medication within 7-10 days.

A medical supply operator’s experience was also cited; the supplier never received over $1,000 in medical supplies, which had been tracked to the Richmond distribution center. The supplies were never recovered. The loss resulted in the operator and their key distributor ending their business relationship.

They also noted county officials in the Northern Neck received mail a month after being postmarked, with some mail never being delivered. The disruptions “had significant impacts on tax collections and operations.”

The incidents documented follow a letter sent to the Postmaster General in January from a Virginia congressional delegation demanding answers after hundreds of cancer test samples were delayed to the point the samples were unusable.

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