Mail Decrease to Up Stamp Prices

WASHINGTON?The terrorist attacks and the slipping economy combined to cause the biggest drop in mail volume in more than 30 years, the Postal Service reported Tuesday.

The bleak news came amid negotiations between the post office and major mailers on an agreement that would allow the agency to raise rates on June 30, three months sooner than planned.

In the first quarter of its fiscal year?Sept. 8 to Nov. 30?mail volume was 2.8 billion items below the same period last year, said postal Chief Financial Officer Richard Strasser Jr.

That was the biggest drop off since the current postal service was established more than 30 years ago, Strasser said. It was led by advertising mail, which was down 2.2 billion items, costing the agency millions of dollars.

The proposed rate increase would boost the price of a first-class stamp 3 cents to 37 cents and raise other rates as well.