The first class postage increase is from 46 cents to 49 cents begins on Jan. 26.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has announced that first-class postage will increase to 49 cents for all first class letters.

"Of the options currently available to the Postal Service to align costs and revenues, increasing postage prices is a last resort that reflects extreme financial challenges," USPS Board of Directors Chairman Mickey Barnett said.

"However, if these financial challenges were alleviated by the timely enactment of laws that close a $20 billion budget gap, the Postal Service would reconsider its pricing strategy," he explained.

Barnett said the USPS is encouraged by the recent introduction of comprehensive postal reform legislation in Congress, and despite an uncertain legislative process, officials are hopeful that legislation can be enacted this year.

The first class postage increase is from 46 cents to 49 cents begins on Jan. 26.

The last increase of one cent for first class letters was on Jan. 27, 2013.

Other increases are:

• The USPS has introduced a new First Class letter rate for the "Metered Mail" category, which includes online postage providers and postage meters. This new rate would be 48 cents, one cent below the retail rate of 49 cents for first class letters.

• First Class Flats (1 ounce) will increase by six cents to 98 cents from 92 cents. Each additional ounce will cost an