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Rep. Ryan calls for halt to postal-truck pact

WARREN — Congressman Tim Ryan is again calling to halt awarding a U.S. Postal Service contract for its next-gen delivery truck, this time until three vacancies on the postal service’s oversight board can be filled.

Ryan, D-Howland, is among several other House lawmakers making the appeal to review the contract award worth up to $6 billion to Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense.

The request of the postal service’s board of governors on Tuesday also asks the board “to do their part to make good on” President Joe Biden’s goal of electrifying the nation’s fleet of vehicles with U.S.-made electric vehicles.

“With so many questions and concerns surrounding the NGDV (next-generation delivery vehicle) contract, with critical legislation pending, and with a new board majority on the horizon, pausing the process until President Biden’s nominees are confirmed is both necessary and appropriate,” the letter states. “These matters, in addition to the overall leadership of Postmaster General (Louis) DeJoy, must be appropriately reviewed before USPS proceeds with what we believe would be a colossal mistake.”

DeJoy previously told a House committee the new postal truck fleet would be 10 percent electric. The remaining vehicles would be equipped with fuel-efficient internal combustion engines, according to the postal service.

The 10-year contract calls on Oshkosh Defense to manufacture up to 165,000 new vehicles. In competition for it was Cincinnati area-based electric truck manufacturer Workhorse Group Inc., which holds a 10 percent stake in Lordstown Motors Corp.

Its factory in Lordstown, the former General Motors assembly plant, was likely the location to manufacture the Workhorse delivery trucks.

The letter also notes in addition to Biden’s goal, many private delivery services such as FedEx, UPS and Amazon “are aggressively transitioning their fleets” to electric.

“Squandering this once-in-a-generation opportunity by spending billions of dollars on vehicles that will be custom built for obsolescence — indeed, by the end of their operating lives they will be the last internal combustion fleet vehicles on the road — and defying President Biden’s executive order is utterly unacceptable,” the letter states.

Earlier this month, Ryan joined with other members of Congress to reintroduce the Postal Vehicle Modernization Act, which would provide the postal with the $6 billion needed to electrify the postal fleet. He also joined with U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to urge Biden to halt the federal postal truck contract until a review can be conducted.

Also in March, Ryan wrote the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, urging the federal oversight body to investigate a more than $54 million purchase of Oshkosh Corp. stock less than 24 hours before DeJoy announced Feb. 23 the award to Oshkosh Defense.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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