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This order was canceled on September 30, 2004

FHWA Mail Management System
Classification Code Date Office of Primary Interest
FHWA Order Mail Management System 1760.1 January 10, 1989 HAIM-22


  1. Purpose

  2. Cancellations

  3. Scope

  4. Authorities

  5. Definitions

  6. Policy

  7. Responsibilities

  8. Large Quantity Mailings and Mailings by Contracts

  9. General Usage Guidelines

  10. Correspondence Routing Symbols

  11. Inter/Intra-Agency Mail

  12. Addresses

  13. Express Mail Service

  14. Express Small Package Contract Delivery Service

  15. Guidelines for Using GSA Contract Delivery Service vs. Express Mail

  16. Annual Mail Volume and Cost Report

  1. PURPOSE. To define the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Mail Management System, assign responsibilities for its administration, and provide standards and procedures which will assure systematic and economical processing of mail throughout the FHWA.

  2. CANCELLATIONS. The following FHWA issuances are hereby canceled:

    1. The Administrative Manual, Volume 34, Chapter III, Official Mail.

    2. FHWA Notice N 1760.3, Express Mail Control Number, dated June 2, 1977.

  3. SCOPE

    1. The provisions of this Order cover mail processed through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and through the General Services Administration (GSA) mandatory use contract for small package deliveries and apply to all elements of the FHWA responsible for the preparation and processing of mail.

    2. Related topics excluded from this directive include:

        (1) Electronic Mail. Users should consider utilizing electronic mail, but should contact the Data Systems Division (HMS-40) for further information on this method of data transmission.

        (2) Facsimile Transmission. Similarly, users should consider the advantage of utilizing facsimile transmissions by referring to FHWA Order M 1740.1A, Telecommunications Services Management Manual, and contacting the Operations and Services Division (HMS-21).

        (3) Contract Delivery Services (other than GSA Mandatory Use Contract). For information, contact the office of Contracts and Procurement (HCP-1).


    1. Federal Property Management Regulations (FPMR), Temporary Regulation G-52, Use of Carrier Contractor for Express Small Package Transportation, dated November 22, 1988.

    2. Department of Transportation (DOT) Order 1320.11A, Department of Transportation Mail Management System, dated February 18, 1976.

    3. DOT Order 1320.12B, Department of Transportation Mail Standards and Procedures, dated March 13, 1980.

    4. USPS Domestic Mail Manual.


    1. Express Mail - that class of service which provides guaranteed one-day delivery to more than 400 cities nationwide. This service is provided by the USPS and should not be confused with contract delivery services used for the shipping of small packages.

    2. Express Small Package - a package weighing 50 pounds or less, measuring a maximum of 108 inches in length and girth combined and containing commodities not specifically excluded by paragraph 6f(1)-(10) of FPMR Temporary Regulation G-52.

    3. Flats - large envelopes, "9½x12" and larger

    4. Indicia - the approved eagle symbol of the U.S. Government which is placed in the upper right hand corner of the envelope or label with the clause "Postage and Fees Paid, Federal Highway Administration" to the left of the symbol.

    5. Letter - a message directed to a specific person or address and recorded in or on a tangible object (e.g., paper in sheet or card form, recording disks, magnetic disks, etc.)

    6. Mail - for the purposes of this directive, mail consists of letters, memoranda, post cards, documents, packages, publications, and other written or printed communications received for distribution or dispatch by the U.S. Postal Service.

    7. Official Mail - written or printed matter relating exclusively to the business of the U.S. Government (see 5e above).

    8. Personal Mail - mail sent or received by employees which consists of private communications not dealing withofficial U.S. Government business.

    9. Postage and Fees Paid Mail - official mail (penalty mail) for which the Government pays postage and fees.


    1. It is the policy of the FHWA to use the most economical Class of mail service consistent with program requirements for timely, efficient, and responsive operation.

    2. Only official Government business may be transacted by Penalty ("Postage and Fees Paid") mail. Any employee who makes use of the official mail indicia for his or her private mail is subject to a #300 penalty and appropriate disciplinary action.

    3. Personal mail should not be intermixed with official mail for dispatch nor should employees have personal mail sent to their office.


    1. The Associate Administrator for Administration is responsible for issuing FHWA-wide mail management policies and procedures and for oversight of the FHWA mail management system.

    2. The Mail Management Officer, Office of Management Systems, Organization and Management Programs Division (HMS-10) is responsible for:

        (1) Developing and recommending FHWA mail management policies and procedures.

        (2) Coordinating the quarterly mail sampling used to develop the Annual Mail Volume and Cost Report submitted to the USPS (RCS No. HMS-10-06) (see paragraph 16).

        (3) Budgeting for payments to the USPS for mail services provided to the FHWA.

        (4) Serving as FHWA liaison with the Office ofAdministrative Services and Property Management in the Office of the Secretary (OST) relative to centralized mail activities.

    3. The Regional and Division Administrators for their regions and/or divisions and the Chief, Property and Services Branch (HMS-21) for the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) are responsible for the conduct and operation of the mail system, subject to applicable USPS and DOT requirements and the provisions of this directive.


    1. All elements of the FHWA should contact HMS-10 when planning the distribution of publications or large mailings (greater than 200) which would not normally be produced by an office on a regular basis to ensure choice of the most efficient and economical distribution methods.

    2. The Postal Service permits are required for contractor mailings using the FHWA indicia. Permits are obtained by submitting USPS Form 3601, Application to Mail Without Affixing Postage Stamps, with a fee of $40, to the post office where mailings will be made. Form 3601 is available from the USPS.

  9. GENERAL USAGE GUIDELINES. All FHWA employees shall use the most economical class of mail service, following these guidelines to reduce the cost of postal services:

    1. Use Letter-size envelopes instead of "flats" whenever possible. Flats are heavier and more expensive to purchase than regular envelopes. Also, the USPS charges 10¢ handling for every flat weighing one ounce or less. Letter-size envelopes can hold up to eight sheets of folded correspondence. In addition, when mailing numerous copies of the same correspondence, mailers can achieve postage savings by photocopying material on both sides of the page; thus, making it possible to send up to 16 pages of written material in a letter-size envelope using only eight sheets of paper.

    2. Use "Priority" endorsements only on First-Class mailover 12 ounces and under 70 pounds. The Priority endorsement should only be used on parcels, weighing in excess of 12 ounces, which absolutely require the more expensive First-Class service. Flats weighing 12 ounces or under should not be endorsed since they will automatically be sent First-Class.

    3. Use First-Class mail for most administrative mail. The vast majority of administrative mail can and should be sent by First-Class mail. Discretion should be used to send only urgent items requiring overnight delivery by means of the more expensive contract courier service or by the USPS Express Mail.

    4. Use "Air Mail" and "Air Parcel Post" only for shipments going to foreign addresses. Endorse international letters and parcels "Air Mail" and "Air Parcel Post" only when surface transportation is not wanted. There is no Air Mail service in the U.S. Parcels marked "Air Parcel Post" and destined for a domestic address are most likely to go First-Class at much higher rates than the less expensive Fourth-Class parcel post. Therefore, mark packages "Parcel Post" to reduce costs.

    5. Use Parcel Post (Fourth-Class) whenever speed of delivery is not absolutely essential. Parcels weighing 1 pound or more should normally be sent by Fourth-Class mail.

    6. Use Fourth-Class, Special Handling. Fourth-Class parcel post mail, endorsed "Special Handling," moves in approximately half the time of regular Parcel Post at only a small additional cost. This method is far less expensive than sending parcels by Priority mail.

    7. Use Certified and Registered Mail services for proof of mail delivery. These services should only be used in those instances where proof of delivery is absolutely essential or when required for protection of classified material.

    8. Use Return Receipts only where immediate records of receipt are required. For a nominal fee, USPS can supply legal proof of deliveries of Certified and Registered mail up to 2 years after deliveries have been made.

  10. CORRESPONDENCE ROUTING SYMBOLS. Correspondence routing symbols are identified in FHWA Order 1325.2, Correspondence Routing Symbols for the Federal Highway Administration. These serve as an aid for the mail handlers in the DOT mail room in sorting and delivering mail and should be used to the fullest extent possible.


    1. The U.S. Government Messenger Envelope (Standard Form 65B) has been eliminated by the USPS for delivery of official mail between Federal agencies within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and should not be used outside of DOT. In its place, the FHWA official mail envelopes should be used for communications with other Federal agencies that are routed through the U.S. mail. The messenger envelope ("holey envelope") may be used for internal communications. The messenger envelope also may be used in the Washington Headquarters for communications between the DOT (Nassif Building), Coast Guard Headquarters (Trans Point Building), Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC), and FAA (FOB-10A), provided it does not enter the U.S. Mail.

    2. Multiple pieces of inter/intra-agency mail being sent to the same addressee should be bound together. In such instances one DOT F 1320.9, Route Slip, on the front is sufficient.

    3. In limited circumstances, for example, where there is a need for confidentiality, a blank envelope may be used.

  12. ADDRESSES. Correct addresses for the Washington Headquarters and all field offices can be found in the FHWA Key Field Personnel Directory.


    1. Express mail should be used only where next day delivery is essential. Two levels of express mail service are available.

        (1) Custom designed service requires an agreement with the USPS specifying the frequency of use, the pickup and/or delivery time, and the optiondesired. The options are:

          (a) Door to door service: provides pickup at sender's site and delivery to the destination site.

          (b) Door to airport service: provides pickup at sender"s site and delivery to the airport nearest the destination.

          (c) Airport to door service: requires delivery to the airport by the sender and provides delivery to the destination site.

          (d) Airport to airport service: requires delivery to the airport by the sender and pickup at the destination airport by the addressee.

        (2) Regular service is available to users at designated post offices in any of the 400 cities without special prior agreements. Two classes of service are available:

          (a) Post office to post office service: requires delivery by the sender to a participating USPS post office and guarantees delivery by 10 a.m. the following morning to the destination post office where the mail must be picked up by the addressee.

          (b) Post office to addressee service: requires delivery by the sender to a participating USPS post office and is guaranteed to be delivered to the addressee prior to 3 p.m. the next business day.

    2. Preparation Requirements

        (1) For custom designed service, pre-arrangements must be made with the local post office customer representative. The appropriate forms will be provided by the USPS.

        (2) For post office to post office service label 11Amust be completed (see Attachment 1 for example and instructions).[SEE PRINTED COPY OF ORDER FOR THE POST OFFICE SERVICE LABEL 11A]

        (3) For post office to addressee service label 11B must be completed (see Attachment 2 for example and instructions).[SEE PRINTED COPY OF ORDER FOR THE POST OFFICE ADDRESSEE SERVICE LABEL 11B]

    3. Rates and Availability. Personnel using or considering the use of Express Mail should consult the USPS Domestic Mail Manual or check with their local post office to obtain a list of rates for the various services offered and for the latest list of cities and post offices where the service can be obtained.

    4. Payment and Estimates

        (1) Express mail is an extra cost item not included in the quarterly payments made by the FHWA to the USPS. The FHWA is billed for each piece of Express Mail. The postal service has assigned the FHWA Control Number P-206 which must be included on the Express Mail label.

        (2) The USPS provides to HMS-10 a quarterly Statement of Charges billed to the FHWA Express Mail account. The information is broken down by postal region and will be provided to the appropriate FHWA offices for cost monitoring and control purposes and for developing an Express Mail cost estimate.


    1. Contractor. The GSA contracts annually with a commercial courier to make urgent shipments of small packages for the Federal sector at a greatly reduced rate and has made this a mandatory use program for civilian agencies of the Executive Branch. The contract covers specified locations in the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) and Puerto Rico. Detailed provisions of the contract, including use of the service by agency cost-reimbursable contractors and general procedures for payment and for obtaining contractor service, are contained in FPMR Temporary Regulation G-52.

    2. Private Express Statutes. Under a group of laws known as the Private Express Statutes, only the USPS may carry letters. Exceptions to this restriction, i.e., instances in which private couriers or messenger services may carry letters, are detailed in Title 39 Code of Federal Regulations Part 310, Enforcement of the Private Express Statutes, and 320, Suspension of the Private Express Statutes, and are summarized in Section 112 of the Domestic Mail Manual. The USPS suspends the Private Express Statutes for extremely urgent letters under the following conditions:

        (1) Delivery must be made within a specific time, usually overnight, to avoid a loss in value or usefulness of the letter.

        (2) The delivery must cost at least $3.00, or twice the amount required for an equal weight of First Class mail, whichever is greater.

  15. GUIDELINES FOR USING GSA CONTRACT DELIVERY SERVICE VS. EXPRESS MAIL. The following questions should be considered in determining whether to use an overnight delivery service and if so, which one:

    1. Must delivery be made overnight to avoid a substantial loss in value or usefulness of the letter? If the answer is yes, then an overnight delivery service may be used.

    2. Which service is most cost-effective? Generally the contract delivery service is less costly than Express Mail. Contract courier and postal rate charts should be compared by shipment weight and shipment charge. The minimum USPS rate for Express Mail (next day service post office to addressee) is $8.75 for up to 1 pound, whereas the contract courier minimum rate currently being charged is $5.00 for up to 1 pound and $8.56 for up to 5 pounds. Therefore, if the conditions described in paragraph 14b(1) and (2) were met, the less costly service to select would be the contract courier service for shipments under 7 pounds.

    3. Is service provided to the destination city? If either the contract delivery service or Express Mail service does not serve a city, the other available service mustbe used. If neither one services a city, an alternate method of shipment must be found, such as another courier service. The contractor's current office locations are listed in Attachment 3.[SEE PRINTED COPY OF ORDER FOR A COPY OF THE CONTRACTOR'S CURRENT OFFICE LOCATIONS] Locations served by Express Mail may be obtained from the Local post office.

    4. Mailing Charges.

        (1) The cost for the contract delivery service is the same for all domestic destinations served by the contractor. Current shipment charges by weight are listed in Attachment 4.[SEE PRINTED COPY OF ORDER FOR A COPY OF CURRENT SHIPMENT CHARGES] A surcharge of $9.00 is added for Saturday deliveries. Express Mail service with the USPS is therefore less costly since there is no extra charge for deliveries on Saturday or Sunday.

        (2) Express Mail costs vary according to the mail zone destination. USPS rates for this service may be obtained from the local post office.

    5. Mailing procedures.

        (1) Washington Headquarters. An urgent letter originating in the Nassif Building must be handcarried to the OST Mail Room service desk for a determination as to whether it will be sent by Express Mail or private courier. At that point, the appropriate form or a airbill is completed and, with the letter, turned over to the Mail Room service desk clerk for mailing. The Express Mail form or the courier airbill should clearly show the originator's correspondence routing code. The outside cover or container of a letter in this category must be prominently marked "Extremely Urgent - Private Carriage Authorized."

        (2) FHWA Field Offices. Regional and division offices should establish similar procedures for their respective areas to assure cost-effective use of urgent mail services.

    6. Billing Procedures for GSA Contract Delivery Service.

        (1) Preparation and Routing of Contractor Airbills

          (a) Each package or letter to be transported by the contractor must utilize a contractor's airbill (see Attachment 5).[SEE PRINTED COPY OF ORDER FOR A COPY OF A CONTRACTOR'S AIRBILL] The airbills have printed on them an FHWA/Contractor pre-assigned account number located in block 4 on the line labeled "Sender."

          (b) The sending office correspondence routing symbol should be placed in block 5 labeled "Billing Reference (Will Appear On Invoice)."

          (c) The contractor provides only a single copy of the airbill for the agency, and this copy is the only agency record of individual delivery service transactions. The sending office must certify on the airbill that delivery services were received and that payment is authorized, or that services were not performed.

        (2) Routing and Payment of Contractor Invoices

          (a) The Office of Fiscal Services (HFS-24) will pay all contractor invoices.

          (b) Both Washington Headquarters and field offices will maintain airbills until the receipt of invoice from the contractor.

            1 Contractor invoices will be sent by the contractor directly to HFS-24 for Washington Headquarters users. Photocopies of the contractor invoice will be sent by HFS-24 to each Washington Headquarters user except the Offices of Research, Development, and Technology at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC). Washington Headquarters users will match certified airbills (Attachment 5) to the contractor'sinvoice and send them to HFS-24.

            2 Contractor invoices will be sent by the contractor directly to field users (including regional, division and direct Federal offices) and to the TFHRC. Copies of the certified airbills should be matched and attached to the contractor's invoice and sent to HFS-24.

        (3) In the event that the contractor fails to deliver a letter or package or delivers it late, the sending office should promptly contact the contractor to inform them of their failure to deliver. The Office of Fiscal Services (HFS-24) must also be informed that service was not provided in order to withhold payment.

        (4) At the end of each quarter, the Organization and Management Programs Division (HMS-10) will obtain from the Office of Fiscal Services (HFS-24), copies of all airbills and matching invoices which document instances when the contractor failed to meet its contractual responsibilities. The Office of Management Systems (HMS-10) will then notify the appropriate GSA zone office.

  16. ANNUAL MAIL VOLUME AND COST REPORT. Sample mail counts are used to determine the amounts to be paid to the USPS for certain mail services. The counts are conducted during random weeks selected by the USPS. All mail sent during the sample week must be broken down by appropriate rate categories with corresponding weights and postage amounts. Express mail costs should not be included during the sample period.

    1. Taking the Mail Count

        (1) Each regional and division office will be notified of the dates when the counts will be taken. Copies of the Form DOT F 1320.67, Annual Mail Volume and Cost Report, will be provided with the notification of the mail count.

        (2) Regional office counts will include mail of the regional Offices of Motor Carrier Safety, anddivision office counts will include mail of the motor carrier safety field staff.

        (3) Division offices are to send the results of the count to their regional office and the regional offices will consolidate the division counts with their own. The consolidated reports will be sent to the Organization and Management Programs Division (HMS-10) in the Washington Headquarters within 2 weeks after the last day of the count.

        (4) The mail count for the Washington Headquarters Office, with the exception of the offices of the Associate Administrator for Research, Development and Technology, is conducted by the OST Mail Services Section, OST Printing Operations Section and at the DOT Warehouse Supply Section (M 443.2). The mail count at the TFHRC is taken by the Facility Manager.

    2. Direct Accountability Mail. Distinct from sampled mail, direct accountability mail requires and actual count throughout the fiscal year for purposes of determining the proper amount to be paid to the USPS. Any large or unusual mailings during the year should be reported to HMS-10. Actual count and the class of service should be provided. If these occur during the sample period, they should be reported separately and not included in the sample. This will allow the FHWA to adjust the mail counts to pay to the usps the appropriate amount for their services. Direct accountability mail includes the following mail categories:

        (1) presort mail (i.e., Presort First-Class, Special Fourth-Class);

        (2) express mail;

        (3) business reply mail;

        (4) supplemental mailings (i.e., large or unusual mailings);

        (5) special services mail (i.e., address correction mail, postage due mail, registered mail);

        (6) international mail;

        (7) contractor/Government Printing Office mailings; and

        (8) Second-Class general/requester publication.

George S. Moore, Jr.
Associate Administrator
for Administration


Page last modified on October 19, 2015
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