Feb 23, 2021
USPS selects Oshkosh Defense to build greener mail truck
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States Post Office said Tuesday that it has chosen Oshkosh Defense to build its next-generation mail-delivery vehicle, part of an effort to make the USPS more environmentally friendly by switching a portion of its huge fleet to electric vehicles.
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp., will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of the new Next Generation Delivery Vehicles at its existing U.S. manufacturing facilities. It will get an initial $482 million toward retooling and building out its factory.
USPS described the deal as the first part of a multibillion-dollar 10-year effort to replace its delivery vehicle fleet.
The choice of Wisconsin-based Oshkosh is a big miss for Ohio-based electric vehicle startup Workhorse Group, which put in an all-electric bid for the vehicles. Shares of Workhorse fell more than 47% Tuesday.
The postal service last updated its mail-delivery trucks 30 years ago, and there have been major changes in the service’s operations since then. Traditional mail volumes have declined, while the service now delivers millions of packages from online retailers like Amazon that did not exist when the previous mail vehicle was introduced.
The new vehicles will have more room for packages, and will be updated with modern safety and driveability standards like cameras, airbags and collision avoidance systems. The vehicles will also be a combination of electric and gasoline powered, but the gasoline-powered new vehicles will have the ability to be retrofitted with new electric systems in the future.
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Biden Nominates Three to USPS Board, Threatening Embattled Postmaster General DeJoy
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President Biden on Wednesday announced three nominees to the United States Postal Board of Governors, a move that if confirmed, would tilt the nine-member board in favor of Democrats and could potentially lead to the removal of postmaster general, Louis DeJoy.
DeJoy, a Trump megadonor, has been under intense fire for overseeing a series of controversial changes last year, including the prohibition of overtime work just as demand for mail-in ballots was skyrocketing and directing postal workers to leave late-arriving mail for the next day. Many saw these changes as an attempt to kneecap the organization and disenfranchise voters in the presidential election.
The announcement on Wednesday came on the same day that DeJoy testified before the House where he faced questions on the continued widespread delays plaguing the agency. DeJoy refused to take responsibility for the ongoing delays and instead blamed the agency for being “operationally faulty.” In one moment, when asked how much longer he expected to remain at the helm of the USPS, DeJoy was notably combative.
“Long time,” he shot back. “Get used to it.”
As my colleague Ari Berman noted last month, Biden’s move to fill the vacant board seats and seek more control over the embattled agency would mark a significant step in restoring democracy post-Donald Trump. It also could blunt DeJoy’s efforts to potentially privatize the independent agency.
DeJoy remains in place as postmaster general, promising to unveil major changes after the election that could lay the groundwork for eventual privatization of the postal service, a longtime GOP objective. “It’s like the Supreme Court,” says USPS expert Steve Hutkins, who runs the Save the Post Office blog. “Trump is gone but he left a Republican postal service.”
Since the USPS is an independent agency under the executive branch, Biden can’t directly fire DeJoy, who has no fixed term. That can only be done by the Postal Service Board of Governors. Trump named all six members of the nine-member board, which has a 4–2 GOP majority. But if Biden appoints three new governors, who must be confirmed by the Senate, to existing vacancies that would give Democrats a 5–4 majority that could oust DeJoy and roll back his changes to the agency. Stopping DeJoy is at the top of the list,” says Hutkins.
Biden’s nominees, which require Senate confirmation, are all postal experts. They include Anton Hajjar, the former general counsel of the American Postal Workers Union, Amber McReynolds, the National Vote at Home Institute CEO, and Ron Stroman, a former deputy postmaster general.