About 30 million residential addresses receive delivery to boxes at the door or a mail slot. Another 87 million residential addresses receive curbside or cluster box delivery.
The cost differences are clear. Curbside delivery costs average $224 per year for each address, while cluster box delivery averages $160. Door-to-door delivery costs the agency about $350 per year, on average.
Sue Brennan, a Postal Service spokeswoman, said, "While converting delivery away from the door to curb or centralized delivery would allow the Postal Service to deliver mail to more addresses in less time, doing so is not included in our five-year plan."
Brennan said the agency's five-year plan does call for shifting 20 percent of business address deliveries from door-to-door to curbside and cluster box delivery through 2016.
Rep. Steve Lynch, D-Mass., said the plan to move some 30 million residential addresses from to-the-door to curbside and cluster box service would be virtually impossible in dense urban areas such as his hometown of South Boston crowded with triple-deckers — three apartments stacked on top of each other.
"You'd have to knock houses down in my neighborhood to build cluster boxes," Lynch said. "This will not work."
It might work in places like Manhattan with big apartment buildings, he said.
"Look, there's no availability for cluster boxes in many communities around the country," Lynch said.
Issa's plan allows for people with physical hardships to get waivers allowing them to keep door delivery. There's also a provision giving people the option to keep door delivery by paying a special fee to cover the additional cost.
Issa's bill also allows the Postal Service to take into account factors such as poverty rates and population density in deciding which areas would be allowed to keep door delivery.