Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

City Pushes Century City to Make USPS Trucks

Council members and mayor urge Oshkosh Corporation to consider Milwaukee location.

By - Mar 1st, 2021 05:23 pm
USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicle. Image from USPS.

USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicle. Image from USPS.

The new United States Postal Service truck will be built by Oshkosh Corporation, but Milwaukee officials want the Wisconsin company to look south when choosing where to build it.

The Oshkosh-based defense contractor was announced last week as the winner of a multi-year competitive bidding process to construct up to 165,000 of the trucks — known as the “Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV)” — over the next 10 years.

An initial $482 million contract will support final engineering and factory buildout. But where that factory is located remains to be seen.

Alderman Khalif Rainey thinks he has the perfect location: the Century City business park.

“Once the home of A.O. Smith Corp./Tower Automotive, Inc., this is a site ready-made for a use of this type. The City of Milwaukee has already made substantial investments to prepare for just such a purpose and our Department of City Development stands ready to make certain that what few gaps may remain are closed to your satisfaction,” wrote Rainey and eight of his colleagues in a letter sent Monday to Oshkosh Defense, a subsidiary of Oshkosh Corp.

It’s actually the second time the city has sought to bring the USPS work to the 84-acre business park. Over half of the business park, located near W. Capitol Dr. and N. 31st St., is currently vacant land.

The REV Group was one of the initial bidders to make the vehicle. And in 2016, then-CEO Tim Sullivan said the company would likely produce the vehicles at a new facility at Century City, employing up to 2,000 people. But the company didn’t advance and its partner, Turkey-based Karsan, ultimately submitted a bid with another firm. After relocating REV Group to Wisconsin, Sullivan departed the Brookfield-based company in March 2020.

The new vehicle will replace the ubiquitous mail truck that was first made in 1987. Known as the Long Life Vehicle (LLV), it has lived up to its name. The last one was made in 2001 and the average vehicle has been on the road for over 28 years.

USPS uses approximately 190,000 vehicles, a mix of LLVs and off-the-shelf vehicles, to deliver mail.

The replacements, which will come in both battery-electric and internal combustion engine formats, will be larger, more fuel-efficient and safer.

The first vehicles are expected to be produced in the second half of 2023.

The letter was signed by Rainey as well as Cavalier Johnson, Nik Kovac, Nikiya Dodd, Chantia Lewis, Michael Murphy, Mark Borkowski, Jose G. Perez and Russell W. Stamper, II.

Mayor Tom Barrett is also endorsing Oshkosh coming to Century City.

The full council will vote on a resolution Tuesday, March 2nd, urging the company to locate the facility in Milwaukee.

It’s not the only thing happening at Century City, but it would be the most significant. Talgo is restoring subway and commuter rail cars in a former Tower Automotive plant at the south end of the business park. Good City Brewing acquired the only new building in the business park, Century City 1, in 2018 and a proposal has been introduced for Planet 2 Plate to construct an urban farm in part of the facility.

Strauss Brands proposed to build a meat processing plant in the middle of the business park in 2019, but those plans were ultimately canceled after opposition. Rainey, who represents the area, first backed the plan and admonished those who were critical of it, then pivoted to attacking it himself. The company ultimately chose to build a new plant in Franklin.

4 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: City Pushes Century City to Make USPS Trucks”

  1. Jeffjay60 says:

    Question? If they have both 360 degree and backup Cameras, why do they need side mirrors

  2. B says:

    Jeffjay60 – My thought is that sometimes cameras break! I would imagine snow or salt could temporarily cover the lenses or rain might distort it at times. Also I wouldn’t be surprised if mirrors are required for safety.

  3. Thomas Williams says:

    This may be a Wisconsin corporation and Wisconsin jobs but this is the “last generations” delivery vehicle! Could someone explain to me why it is gas powered? Postal vehicles travel the same routes everyday and return to the same place every night! Does that sound like perfect for chargeable vehicles? Oh the postmaster general says initial investment for electric is too much initial cost but they can be converted later! Forgot conversion to electric is free! Before we get excited about joining in on this, we need to ask about short term cost versus Long term climate change!

  4. Duane says:

    Selecting this location would be both sensible and great for the city of Milwaukee. My only concern is engineering the massive wiper blades needed to clean the comically large front window.

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