On Monday, the Ways and Means will discuss (HF 963.) on Railroad crossing rights-of-way by utilities requirements established. (Looks like it will be livestreamed.) The proposed bill standardizes the cost and timeline responses for requests from utilities to cross railroads when necessary. (Looks like railroads get a month to respond and the standard fee is $750 plus expenses – although it looks like there is room for special circumstances.)
A huge part of the cost of deploying fiber is the cost and time of getting a permit to get fiber across a railroad track. So standardizing the process could be a game changer.
The discussion in the video below comes from a community meeting in Kandiyohi County MN. You can hear the frustrations that people have both with road and railroad crossing.
Here’s a very abridged transcript of the conversation:
Your biggest problem is getting fiber across the road. What’s holding you back?
The Minnesota permits.
MNDOT? Is there a fee? They need to get it quoted through the ISP. Then they can get the numbers to get the permit.
$10,000 to get the permit. …
Railroad crossing is even a bigger problems. They are all over and they costs thousands and thousands. You can
Get quoted totally outrageous fees just for one crossing. You can’t even plan for it because you can’t plan for what the costs may be; they are so un-uniform.