In response to financial struggles, the U.S. Postal Service announced today it would move forward with its proposal to change its service, potentially shutting down more than half of the nation's mail processing centers, including two in the Bay Area.

The USPS is considering closing up to about 250 of the 487 mail processing centers across the country. This consolidation of postal facilities is expected to save the USPS up to $3 billion by 2015, according to the USPS website.

The centers being considered for closure include the North Bay Processing and Distribution Center in Petaluma and the North Peninsula Delivery Distribution Center in Burlingame, USPS spokesman Jim Wigdel said.

The proposal would practically eliminate overnight first-class mail and mail could take at least one extra day to arrive depending on the proximity to a distribution center.

"To close (the processing centers) we'd have to change our service standards from one-to-three days to two-to-three days," Wigdel said. "We (decided) we'd be moving forward."

The potential change comes in response to "the dramatic and continual decline in First-Class Mail volume and the resulting revenue loss," according to the USPS.

All changes made within the USPS must go through a proposal phase with the Postal Regulatory Commission, after which the PRC will issue an advisory opinion, Wigdel said.

That opinion is not binding but "the recommendations (the PRC) makes are often incorporated into the Postal Service's final plans," Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway said.

No decision is expected until April.

If the decision is ultimately made to close the Petaluma processing center, the operations of the center will move to the Oakland Processing and Distribution Center and the workers will be reassigned to nearby sites.

The Burlingame services would be moved to the San Francisco Processing and Distribution Center, located at 1300 Evans Ave.



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