Here is an urgent action alert we’ve sent to our members this morning:
We need your help! The Michigan House is currently working on legislation, HB 5016, that could be voted on this week that the Michigan Municipal League strongly opposes. The bill would require municipalities to reimburse a telecommunications provider a portion of relocation costs if a community fails to notify the provider at least one year in advance of a project that will require relocation of their lines.
Additionally, communities will no longer be able to charge for a permit fee, inspection fee, or survey cost, when a relocation is required. The bill also fails to provide any protection to the municipality if the provider installs or relocates their lines in an area other than allowed by the permit or causes construction delays.
If passed, municipalities would be required to pay a private for-profit company for moving their telecommunication lines within the public right-of-way. Communities are already prohibited from denying the telecommunications access to these public spaces they get to occupy for free. This proposed legislation sets a terrible precedent in this state and could lead to other utility providers, i.e. gas and electric companies, to seek the same deal.
Relocation costs can be very expensive. If communities are required to shoulder a portion of those costs it could result in projects being delayed, scaled back, or even eliminated as a result of this unnecessary, one-sided legislation.
The League encourages you to contact your representative TODAY and tell them to oppose HB 5016 and protect our taxpayers from paying these costs. Go here to get the contact info for your legislators.
John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at email@example.com or 517-908-0303.