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Inside Report (1)

Nine-digit ZIP codes may be zapped by Congress. A subcommittee in the House is poised to pounce on the US Postal Service plan to add four numbers to the nation's ZIP codes.

The new codes, to be phased in over several, years would use the current five digits, plus four new ones. For instance, the code for a certain street in DeLand, Fla., might read: 32084-2122. The 32084 is today's code for DeLand; the additional numbers would break the city down into specific blocks.

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Congress has some doubts about all this. Warning up for hearings set to begin Sept. 4, lawmakers claim the longer codes would be harder to remember, impractical to catalog (the number of codes would jump from 40,000 to 20 million), and easily abused by marketing firms which would zero in on neighborhoods.

Postal officials, however, counter that the new code, like the old one, would be voluntary for first-class mail. Further, the nine-digit code would reduce labor costs.m

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