SB 1029 (Stanley) and HB 1752 (Head) seek to standardize the process by which railroads permit the crossing of lines for the deployment of broadband infrastructure to expand access to the internet. Currently, delays in reviews can stretch months at a time and require review fees more than $20,000 per crossing. This is of particular concern to counties that must meet construction deadlines to avoid forfeiting Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grant awards.
SB 1029 and HB 1752 do the following to address these costly delays:
- Sets a 30-day timeline to review a railroad crossing notice
- Standardizes crossing fees
- Gives the SCC authority to adjudicate when parties disagree
VACo supports these commonsense measures to ensure that broadband can be deployed in a timely and cost-effective manner. SB 1029 passed in committee and is now on the Senate floor for consideration. HB 1752 is scheduled to be heard in House Commerce and Energy Committee’s Subcommittee #3 today.