RIGHTS-OF-WAYS

WHEREAS, local officials are eager to facilitate timely roll out of competitive broadband services in their communities; and

WHEREAS, public rights-of-ways are scarce and valuable real estate assets held by local government either in fee or in trust for the people of that community; and

WHEREAS, a recent study by TeleCommUnity estimated that the value of public rights-of-ways managed by local governments to be at least $6 trillion and may be as much $7.1 trillion; and

WHEREAS, the impact of granting access to the rights-of-ways has extensive impact on local communities, including the administrative costs associated with the granting of the franchise and or permits; the traffic delays and restricting of access to local businesses as well as the threat to property and people arising from a street opening; and

WHEREAS, every time a street is cut, regardless of new technologies and techniques, such street cuts dramatically reduces the lifetime of the street, necessitating additional capital expenditures by local taxpayers; and

WHEREAS, the cost for local taxpayers of allowing access to public rights-of-ways extends well beyond direct costs of the employees responsible for granting permits and inspecting construction; and

WHEREAS, as far back as 1823, the United States Supreme Court in St. Louis v. Western Union Tel recognized local governments' property interest in the rights-of-ways and the right to demand rent for access to same; and

WHEREAS, Congress in enacting Section 253 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 reaffirmed local governments right to collect reasonable rent for use of access to public rights-of-ways by telecommunications providers; and

WHEREAS, Congress had previously established in the Cable Act that it was reasonable to charge cable operators up to five percent (5%) of gross revenues for access to public rights-of-ways,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the Federal Communications Commission, the Congress, as well as the telecommunications industry to respect local government's right to manage local infrastructure in an effective manner; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors underscores that local taxpayers not be required to subsidize the telecommunications industry by being denied the ability to recover the expenses associated with access to the rights-of-ways and a fair and reasonable rent.