- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FHWA Order 1760.1A
|FHWA Mail Management System
|Office of Primary Interest
|September 30, 2004
What is the purpose of this directive? The purpose of this Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) directive is to issue guidance concerning the FHWA mail management system.
Does this directive cancel an existing FHWA directive? Yes. This directive cancels Order 1760.1, FHWA Mail Management System, dated January 10, 1989.
What provisions are covered by this directive?
The provisions of this directive cover mail processed through the U.S Postal Service (USPS) and through the General Services Administration's (GSA's) mandatory-use contract for small package deliveries. This directive applies to all elements of the FHWA responsible for the preparation and processing of mail.
Related mail management topics include:
(1) Electronic mail. Where appropriate, employees should use electronic mail based on the FHWA Electronic Mail Guidelines.
(2) Facsimile transmission. Facsimile users should refer to FHWA Order M 1740.1B, Telecommunications Service Manual, dated September 30, 1998, and contact the Management Services Division's Space and Telecommunication Management Team (HAIM-21).
What are the authorities for this directive?
Federal Property Management Regulations (FPMR) Chapter 102 FPMR, subpart G, Parts 102-192.
Department of Transportation (DOT) Order 1330.1, Department of Transportation, Mail Management, dated February 2, 1995.
The Private Express Statutes at Title 39, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 310 and 320.
GSA Interim Rule 3090-AH13 at 6-6-02 regarding increasing mail handling security following the anthrax crisis.
What are the pertinent definitions?
Express mail. The class of mail delivery service that provides expedited, guaranteed 1-day delivery nationwide and to most foreign countries. This service is provided by the USPS and should not be confused with the contract delivery services used for shipping small packages. Express Mail is normally not opened for postal inspection. For detailed guidance on using USPS Express Mail, see the DMM. Once in the on-line manual, enter "E500" in the Postal Explorer.
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 in the DMM under "Characteristic and Content."
Flat. A large envelope, 9 ½" x 12" and larger.
Indicia. The stamped numbers or bar code placed on the upper right corner of an envelope by a mail postage meter.
Letter. A message directed to a specific person or address sent by mail in an envelope.
Mail. Consists of letters, memoranda, post cards, documents, packages, publications, and other written or printed communications received for distribution or dispatch by the USPS.
Mail Permits. U.S. Postal licenses to apply reduced rates to bulk mail.
Official Mail. Mail sent or received by employees that consists of written or printed matter relating exclusively to the business of the U.S. Government.
Personal Mail. Mail sent or received by employees that consists of private communications not dealing with official U.S. Government business.
Postage and Fees Paid Mail. Official mail (penalty mail) for which the U.S. Government pays postage and fees.
What are FHWA's mail management policies?
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 operations in accordance with USPS, GSA, and DOT requirements.
Only official U.S. Government business may be transacted by "Postage and Fees Paid" mail.
Personal mail should not be intermixed with official mail for dispatch nor should employees have personal mail sent to their offices.
Expedited mail should be used only when required. See paragraphs 14 (for USPS service) and 16 (for GSA contractor service) for guidelines in using expedited mail.
Participation in USPS-offered discount mailings should be maximized.
Appropriate physical security and mail inspection procedures for incoming mail should be in place.
(1) Meters should be secure and locked/removed when not in use.
(2) Offices should have a written plan for Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) during an emergency. Contact the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator in the FHWA Office of Transportation Operations.
(3) Mail employees should be trained to recognize suspicious incoming packages.
What are the responsibilities of FHWA personnel involved in mail management?
The Associate Administrator for Administration is responsible for issuing FHWA-wide mail management policies and procedures and for providing oversight to the FHWA mail management system.
The Mail Management Officer, Office of Information and Management Services, Management Services Division (HAIM-20), is responsible for:
(1) Developing and recommending FHWA mail management policies and procedures.
(2) Budgeting for payments to the USPS for mail services provided to the FHWA.
(3) Serving as FHWA liaison with the Office of Information Services in the Office of the Secretary (OST) relative to centralized mail activities.
The Division Administrators, Resource Center Managers, Managers of Administrative Service Teams, and the Facilities Managers for the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) and Federal Lands Division Offices are responsible for the conduct and operation of the mail system, subject to applicable USPS and DOT requirements and the provisions of this directive.
How are large quantity mailings and mailings by contracts handled?
All elements of the FHWA should contact HAIM-20 when planning large mailings (greater than 200 pieces or very heavy items) that would not normally be produced by an office on a regular basis to ensure the choice of the most efficient and economical distribution methods.
The USPS mail permits are required for contractor mailings using the FHWA indicia. Permits can be obtained by submitting USPS Form 3601, Application to Mail Without Affixing Postage Stamps, with a fee of $40, to the post office where the mailings will be made. Form 3601 is available from the USPS.
What are the general usage guidelines? All FHWA employees shall use the most economical class of mail services by following these guidelines to reduce the cost of postal services:
Use 4" x 9 ½" letter-size envelopes instead of flats (9 ½" X 12" envelopes) whenever possible. Flats are heavier and more expensive to purchase than regular 4"X 9 ½" envelopes. Also, the USPS charges a handling fee for every flat weighing 1 ounce or less. Letter-size envelopes can normally hold up to 8 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 8 sheets of paper.
Use USPS "Priority" endorsements, when necessary (see paragraph 14), only on flats and parcels weighing over 12 ounces and under 70 pounds. Flats weighing 12 ounces or under should not be endorsed "Priority" since they will be automatically sent First-Class.
Use First-Class mail for most administrative mail since 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.
Use "Air Mail" and "Air Parcel Post" only for shipments going to foreign addresses. Send 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 United States. Parcels marked "Air Parcel Post" and destined for domestic address are most likely to go Fourth-Class parcel post. Therefore, mark packages "Parcel Post" to reduce costs.
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. Fourth-Class Parcel Post mail, sent "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.
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 the protection of sensitive material.
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.
Should the FHWA correspondence routing symbols be used in mailings? Yes. FHWA correspondence routing symbols serve as an aid for the mail handlers in the DOT Washington Headquarters mailroom in sorting and delivering mail and should be used to the fullest extent possible. The field offices also have mail handling personnel who also use the routing symbols as an aid in sorting and delivering mail. The correspondence routing symbols are posted as follows:
How is inter/intra-agency mail handled?
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 including the mailings between the DOT Nassif Building, TFHRC, and Arlington, Virginia, location for the Associate Administrator for Professional Development (HPD-1), provided the mailings do not enter the U.S. Mail. 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.
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, attached on the front is sufficient.
Where can the FHWA office addresses be found?
Where can I obtain the procedures for addressing envelopes and mailing labels? For further information on addressing envelopes and mailing labels, refer to FHWA Order M 1325.1D, Correspondence Manual.
How is USPS express mail service used?
Express Mail should be used only when next day delivery is essential. Two levels of Express Mail service are available.
(1) Regular Express Mail service is available to users at post offices in any U.S. city, without prior special agreements. Two classes of service are available:
(a) Post office to post office services: 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) Custom designed service requires an agreement with the USPS specifying the frequency of use, the pickup and/or delivery time, and the service option desired. Prearrangements must be made with the local post office customer representative. The USPS will provide the appropriate forms. The optional custom services are:
(a) Next day service: Provides next day delivery for letters and packages dropped off at a post office or collection box or collected by the USPS through pickup service.
(b) Second day service: Provides second day delivery for letters and packages dropped off at a post office or collection box or collected by the USPS through pickup service.
(c) Custom designed service: Available only on a scheduled basis between the designated USPS facilities and other designated locations for mail matter presented under a service agreement between the USPS and the mailer.
(d) Same day airport service: Requires delivery to the airport by the sender and pickup at the destination airport by the addressee.
To obtain rates and availability, personnel using or considering the use of Express Mail should consult the DMM 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.
Express Mail is an extra cost item. The FHWA is billed for each piece of Express Mail. The Postal Service has assigned the FHWA Control Number P-206 that must be included on the Express Mail label.
The USPS provides to HAIM-20 a quarterly Statement of Charges billed to the FHWA Express Mail account. The information is broken down by postal region and provided to HAIM-20 for cost monitoring, control purposes, and developing an Express Mail cost estimate.
Customers can track their Express Mail delivery information by:
(1) Visiting the USPS Internet site or
(2) Calling the USPS at 1-800-222-1811.
How is express small package contract delivery service handled?
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 it has made this a mandatory use program for civilian agencies in the Executive Branch. The contract covers specified locations in the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) and Puerto Rico. Questions about this service can be directed to HAIM-20.
Private Express Statutes. Under the Private Express Statutes, 39 United States Code (U.S.C.) 606-606, only the USPS may carry letters. Exceptions to this restriction (i.e., instances in which private couriers or messenger services may carry letters) are found in Title 39 CFR Part 310,Enforcement of the Private Express Statutes, and Part 320, Suspension of the Private Express Statutes, and they are summarized in Section G011.4.0 of the DMM. 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 or package.
(2) The delivery distance must be at least 50 miles.
What are the guidelines for using GSA contract delivery service?
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 or package? 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 USPS 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) for packages up to 1 pound, is more expensive to ship than the contract courier minimum rate for shipping up to 5 pounds. Therefore, if the overnight-time and 50-mile distance conditions described in paragraphs 15b(1) and (2) are applicable, the less costly service to select would be the contract courier service for shipment under 5 pounds.
(3) Is service provided to the destination city? If either the contract delivery service or Express Mail service does not serve a specific city, the other available service must be used. If neither one services a specific city, an alternate method of shipment must be found, such as another courier service. The locations served by Express Mail may be obtained from the local post office.
(1) The cost for the contract delivery service is the same for all domestic destinations served by the contractor. A surcharge is added for Saturday deliveries. Express Mail service with the USPS is less costly for weekend delivery since there is no extra charge for deliveries on Saturday and 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 or from the Domestic Rate Charts on the left side of the Postal Explorer web page.
(1) Washington Headquarters. An urgent letter or package originating in the Nassif building must be hand delivered to the OST Mail Room service desk for a determination whether it will be sent by Express Mail or private courier. At that point, the appropriate form or an airbill is completed and, with the letter or package, 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 or package in this category must be prominently marked "Extremely Urgent – Private Carriage Authorized."
(2) FHWA Field Offices. Field offices should establish similar procedures for their respective areas to assure cost-effective use of urgent mail services.
Billing Procedures for GSA Contract Delivery Service
(1) Preparing and routing contractor airbills
(a) Each package and letter to be transported by the contractor must utilize 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 sender office correspondence routing symbol should be placed in block 5 labeled "Billing Reference" (this will appear on the 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 delivery services were not performed.
(2) Routing and payment of contractor invoices
(a) The U.S. Coast Guard is the cognizant Agency for paying all FedEx contractor invoices for FHWA, electronically upon receipt of the electronic bill from FedEx.
(b) Field offices should maintain a copy of their FedEx airbills for 1 fiscal year as documentation during an audit by HAIM-20.
(c) Other contractor invoices will be sent by the contractor directly to the FHWA field users (including Division Offices, Administrative Service Teams, Federal Lands offices, and Resource Center). Copies of the certified airbills should be matched and attached to the contractor's invoice and sent to HAIM-20.
(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. HAIM-20 must also be informed that the required delivery service was not provided in order to withhold payment.
How is the USPS Official Mail and Accounting System (OMAS) "Statement of Usage" used?
The USPS Minneapolis center will send monthly OMAS Activity Reports to HAIM-20.
HAIM-20 will extract costs from the monthly OMAS reports and input the costs into an annual summary electronic spreadsheet. HAIM-20 will also summarize and track the postal expenditures at each field office for meter resets, First-Class mail, bulk Third-Class mail, business reply, and Express Mail. This information will be used to project mail cost for the following year's FHWA postage budget submission.
How are the postage and related costs handled?
The postage allotments placed on the Pitney Bowes meters in the field offices is paid for by HAIM. The costs for supplies for the meters (such as ink and tape) are the responsibility of the field offices.
The invoices for Pitney Bowes meter/scale rentals and maintenance for owned equipment should be forwarded to HAIM-20 for payment. The meter reset notices should stay in the field offices and should not be forwarded to HAIM-20.
Elane and Chatillion scales were purchased for and placed in most field offices in 1995. The costs of repairs and replacements for these scales are the responsibility of field offices. The field offices should contact Bay State Scale & Systems, Inc. for repairs. New scales must be compatible with the Pitney Bowes meters.
How are mail meter vendor reports used? The mail meter vendor will send monthly reports of all FHWA meter resets (and all other U.S. postage used by the field offices) to HAIM-20. HAIM-20 will summarize the monthly meter reset activity and other U.S. postal costs into an annual spreadsheet showing U.S. postage costs by FHWA office, and the annual grand total U.S. postage cost for all FHWA offices. The annual FHWA grand total for meter resets and U.S. postage costs will be used to budget for FHWA's postage budget for the following fiscal year.
Where can I obtain additional information concerning FHWA's mail management program? Contact HAIM-20 in FHWA Washington Headquarters for additional information about FHWA's mail management program.
Michael J. Vecchietti