House Oversight Committee demands release of $6B USPS vehicle contract

Mar 13, 2021
In The News

The House Oversight and Reform Committee is demanding that the U.S. Postal Service release a contract with a private company for a new delivery vehicle fleet that is reportedly worth up to $6 billion.

Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Friday voicing several concerns about potential interference and asking for documents relating to a contract with Oshkosh Defense.

The Postal Service is contracted to purchase up to 165,000 new fuel-efficient or electric postal vehicles.

The Postal Service in late February announced the deal with the Wisconsin-based company, under which it paid a $482 million initial investment. The Postal Service said in a statement that the contract was the first part of a multibillion-dollar, 10-year effort to replace its delivery fleet.

According to Maloney, the contract was a "surprise announcement" and marked the end of a "highly secretive" selection process that lasted six years. 

In her letter, Maloney voiced concerns that the vehicles would not be fuel efficient. The New York lawmaker noted that part of President Biden's plan to combat climate change is to transition to a fully electric fleet. 

Maloney wrote that Oshkosh submitted a prototype with a gasoline engine despite prototypes from competitors incorporating electric powertrains. The initial announcement claimed that Oshkosh's vehicles would be fuel efficient or contain electric powertrains.

However, Maloney noted that DeJoy told the committee in a hearing last month that only 10 percent of the initial order for the fleet would be electric.

Maloney voiced additional concerns about the contract, pointing to a report from Bloomberg News that alleges an unknown party purchased $54.2 million worth of stock in Oshkosh the night before the deal was announced.

Maloney demanded documents by March 26.

“These reports raise concerns about the Postal Service’s selection process and contract award for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle program,” Maloney wrote. “A thorough review is warranted to ensure the award process is free from undue influence and potential interference.”

The news comes amid support from Maloney for a bill from Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) to allocate $6 billion to the Postal Service and require that at least 75 percent of its new fleet be electric or zero emissions vehicles. 

In a letter to Maloney and other congressional leaders shared with The Hill, DeJoy said that the Postal Service could commit to having a majority of its delivery fleet be electric in 10 years. He said that the agency would need $8 billion to electrify its vehicles to the "maximum extent possible."

The Hill has reached out Oshkosh for comment.