Intermodal rail is a “sensible option” that could help the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reduce expenses, improve environmental sustainability and maintain service standards if some mail that now moves by truck is transported by railroads, according to a report recently issued by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General's Risk Analysis Research Center.
Titled, “Strategic Advantages of Moving Mail by Rail,” the report found that in the short term, shifting a portion of mail volume from truck to intermodal rail could yield $100 million in annual cost savings without requiring changes to the postal service’s network. In addition, USPS could save significantly more in the long run by realigning its processing and transportation network, and “strategically recommitting to the use of intermodal rail,” the report states.
USPS has a long and storied history of moving mail on rail dating back to the early 1800s, but today, it mostly meets its surface transportation needs by using trucks, the report states. Last year, the postal service spent more than $3.3 billion on highway contracts and only $40 million on freight-rail contracts.
“By contrast, postal competitors have greatly expanded their use of rail and have worked hard to realign their networks with the nation’s railroads,” the report’s authors state in the summary.
The study in question. About time really; I'm surprised that previous Republican harping on about trying to cut inefficiency in government didn't result in going back to rail earlier. Then again, taking this long does feed back into Republican complaints about government efficiency.
I don't believe Amtrak will receive the contracts; the Class Is are perfectly capable of forming consortia to bid for a coast-to-coast train if need be and the last thing Amtrak needs is to screw up its long-distance routes and offend the host railroads by stealing business from them again.