WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation will add more than $1 billion to the U.S. Postal Service’s budget, necessitating a request for another rate hike in January, but the service is well prepared for the November election, a Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday.

The Postal Service has already delivered about 40 million ballots to and from voters along with a total of 550 million COVID-19 test kits, DeJoy said.

“Americans must be confident that the United States Postal Service is well prepared and will provide extraordinary service in the upcoming November election,” he told the Board of Governors.

Third-quarter results for the first time reflected a sweeping overhaul of Congress, resulting in a non-cash benefit of nearly $59.6 billion. But DeJoy cautioned against reading too much of the one-time benefit, without which the Postal Service would have suffered an adjusted loss of $459 million.

“The fact is, we have a long way to go and a lot of hard work in our 10-year transformation to ensure the Postal Service’s long-term financial viability,” DeJoy said.

The quarterly results were the first to reflect an overhaul signed into law by President Joe Biden in April.

The Postal Service Reform Act lifted requirements that contributed to the agency’s red ink, such as prepaying future retiree health benefits — an obligation that private companies and federal agencies are not obligated to. confronted. It also cemented a requirement for mail delivery six days a week.

Several members of the public who spoke at the meeting implored governors to increase the number of next-generation electric delivery vehicles and ensure union workers build them.

The first of these new vehicles will start rolling next year, with half of the first batch of 50,000 vehicles being powered by electricity.

As for postage rates, DeJoy had previously warned that they would be necessary, especially in the face of inflation.

Fares last rose in July, with the cost of a first-class Forever stamp rising by 2 cents to 60 cents.

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