Lawmakers Call on Post Office to Halt Vehicle Contract

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, and other lawmakers have renewed their call on the United States Postal Service to halt a contract awarded to Oshkosh Defense last month to produce its next generation of delivery vehicles.

Ryan, along with 12 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives, signed a letter directed to the USPS Board of Governors urging the body to postpone awarding the 10-year contract until the deal could be reviewed and until three vacancies on the board are filled.

“With so many questions and concerns surrounding the [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,” lawmakers wrote. “These matters, in addition to the overall leadership of Postmaster General DeJoy, must be appropriately reviewed before USPS proceeds with what we believe would be a colossal mistake.”

Ryan and others, including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, have raised questions as to the Post Office’s decision to award the contract to Oshkosh.  The deal – potentially worth more than $6 billion – calls for the Wisconsin company to manufacture 165,000 new vehicles for the Postal Service over 10 years. 

Ryan has particular questions over 524,000 shares of Oshkosh that were traded after hours on Feb. 22, just before the USPS announced the contract award on Feb. 23. 

The lawmakers also said that the contract disregards President Joe Biden’s directive to convert 100% of the federal fleet to electric vehicles. Oshkosh’s bid called for the use of combustion engines. 

Oshkosh beat out Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group, an electric-vehicle manufacturer, for the contract. Workhorse has a 10% stake in Lordstown Motors Corp., which is building an all-electric pickup truck, the Endurance, at its plant in Lordstown. 

It was likely that Lordstown Motors would have been subcontracted by Workhorse to manufacture the vehicle, or at least parts of the vehicle, at the plant. 

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

Photo by Pope Moysuh on Unsplash

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.