Inside208

Legislation Attempts to Shift Broadband Relocation Costs to Communities

Posted on November 18, 2015 by Dene Westbrook

Legislation recently introduced in the House attempts to shift broadband relocation costs to communities and we urge you to reach out to your legislator to defeat it. HB 5016 would require cities and villages to reimburse an entity holding a license under the Michigan Telecommunications Act, or a franchise under the Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act, for relocation costs if both of the following apply:

  1. The city, village, township, or county, or the state transportation department, did either of the following: Requested the entity to temporarily or permanently relocate its facilities, or requested the entity to temporarily or permanently relocate its facilities to protect those facilities due to construction or other activity by the city, village, township, or county, or the state transportation department.
  2. The entity invests money in broadband infrastructure in this state.
If a city or village requests an entity to relocate facilities, the community would also be required to waive any permit fees or inspection fees.
If a city or village requests an entity to conduct any survey or study related to relocating facilities, the community must reimburse the entity for those survey or study costs.
A reimbursement of relocation costs by the government agency to an eligible entity shall be made as follows:
  • 100% reimbursement for relocation costs, if the entity’s facilities were placed in the public right-of-way less than five years before the date of the request to relocate
    those facilities.
  • 75% reimbursement for relocation costs, if the entity’s facilities were placed in the public right-of-way five years or more but fewer than nine years before the date of the request to relocate those facilities.
  • 50% reimbursement for relocation costs,if the entity’s facilities were placed in the
    public right-of-way nine years or more but less than 12 years before the date of the
    request to relocate those facilities.
  • 25% reimbursement for relocation costs, if the entity’s facilities were placed in the public right-of-way 12 years or more but less than 15 years before the date of the
    request to relocate those facilities.

The METRO Act requires telecommunication providers to pay the Metro Authority an annual maintenance fee for access to and use of municipal public rights-of-way. The Act also provides that they receive an annual property tax credit equal to the funds/costs paid in annual maintenance fees. The receipt of this tax credit results in the telecom provider paying little or no annual costs for access to and use of municipal public rights-of-way. The METRO Act provides that the tax credit shall be the sole method of recovery for the costs required under the act.

Additionally, Section 4.10 of the METRO Act permit agreements requires “…If a Municipality requests Permittee to relocate, protect, support, disconnect or remove its Facilities because of street or utility work, or other public projects, Permittee shall relocate, protect, support, disconnect, or remove its Facilities, at its sole cost and expense…”

The League believes the transfer of these cost to our communities makes them unfairly shoulder the costs and is in direct conflict with the METRO Act. We urge you to reach out to your legislator and let them know that municipalities should not be responsible for these costs and to vote no on this legislation. This bill could be voted on the first week of December when the Legislature returns from Thanksgiving break. They need to hear from you if we are going to be successful in defeating this bill.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Locations
Headquarters
1675 Green Road,
Ann Arbor MI 48105
 
Capitol Office
208 N. Capitol Ave.,
1st Floor Lansing, MI 48933
©2022 Michigan Municipal League LLC. All rights reserved