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CBS12 viewer tips exposes aging postal trucks

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A CBS12 investigation has discovered half the postal delivery trucks in our area are past their prime.

Our investigation started with a tip from a viewer, a postal worker with concerns over the safety of the aging fleet of mail trucks.

Across the country postal trucks are making headlines for breaking down and catching on fire. The dramatic images tell the tale of an aging fleet of mail trucks. The trucks maneuver our streets with hundreds of thousands of miles on them. We flagged one down and found it had tens of thousands miles on it.

CBS12 investigates reviewed United States Postal Service records for our five county area and found half the fleet, 842 of them are at least twenty years old. We found 153 of them are 29 years old, well beyond their designed useful life and then some.

Michi Iljazi is a watchdog with the non-partisan Taxpayers Protection Alliance. He says the post office is wasting money repairing vehicles that are too old and too unsafe to be on the road. "The agency is losing billions of dollars. $50 billion over the last 10 years and that kind of cost reflects the real risk for taxpayers," he said.

There are 214,000 vehicle nationwide. Keeping them running is quite costly. During fiscal year 2015, the post office spent $428-million on parts alone.

A recent postal service inspector general's report found much of that money was wasted, claiming the post office "paid more for parts than necessary," a price gap that cost the post office more than $4.5-million.

We asked the post office why they are driving old, unsafe vehicles. They turned us down for an on-camera interview, and instead sent us a long statement describing their process of spending $37-point-four-million to produce 50 prototype vehicles to phase out those older trucks. "There's a real leadership deficit when it comes to making these tough decisions that are smart for the post office, but also smart financially," Iljazi said.

The Post Office claims it receives no tax-dollars for operating and instead relies on its own sales to fund its operations. But it didn't take a lot of digging to figure out that isn’t exactly the case. They’ve been receiving federal subsidies to help stay afloat for the past decade.

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