The financially troubled U.S. Postal Service plays a vital role in the economy, particularly in small towns where people rely on the mail for business, medicines, information and more in ways metropolitan residents can't imagine.

Cutting Saturday delivery and raising prices would have hurt rural America and ultimately the USPS, accelerating the decline in mail volume and revenue.

The Republican Eagle, which has a vested interest, applauds Post Master General Patrick R. Donahoe's decision to keep six-day delivery. Wednesday's announcement was good news for subscribers but also local post offices. The R-E spends $200,000 a year at the Red Wing Post Office alone to mail the ApplauseXtra. Postal carriers also deliver the Wednesday and Saturday editions.

The USPS's woes are severe and complex. First, Congress must relax the 2006 law that helped drive the agency into financial distress and then support a reasonable funding plan for pensions and health benefit accounts while the Postal Service addresses excess capacity.

America needs affordable, reliable, timely mail.