Washington, DC—Below is a statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran on recent FCC proposals diminishing local government ownership rights over local rights-of-way and other public property:
“The U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly opposes recent proposals by the Federal Communications Commission to grant communications service providers subsidized access to local public property and to dictate how local governments manage their own local rights-of-ways and public property. This unprecedented federal intrusion into local (and state) government property rights will have substantial adverse impacts on cities and their taxpayers, including reduced funding for essential local government services, as well as an increased risk of right-of-way and other public safety hazards.
“We believe the courts will conclude that FCC’s proposals are based on misguided interpretations of federal law. Congress previously addressed and resolved these issues resoundingly in favor of local and state governments and their property rights. The Conference and its member cities reject efforts by this unelected federal regulatory agency to improperly invade state and local government authority by compelling local elected officials to subsidize, or “gift”, local public property to a small, favored group of private businesses. According to FCC’s own estimates, just one of these actions – the proposed small cell rules – threatens future revenues to local (and state) governments by billions of dollars over the next decade.
“The Conference of Mayors strongly opposes these proposals and calls on the agency to change them; absent such changes, the Conference and its members will seek relief in federal court to overturn this unprecedented overreach by the FCC.”