City of McAllen Coalition Files Small Cell Lawsuit

The City of McAllen is leading a coalition of around twenty cities that has filed a lawsuit to challenge the unconstitutionally low right-of-way rental fees in S.B. 1004.  That bill, passed during the 2017 regular session and effective September 1, requires a city to allow access for cellular antennae and related equipment (“small cell nodes”) in city rights-of-way, and it also entitles cell companies and others to place equipment on city light poles, traffic poles, street signs, and other poles. 

The bill give cities limited authority over placement, and it caps a city’s right-of-way rental fee at around $250 per small cell node.  The price per node in the current bill is a taxpayer subsidy to the cellular industry because it allows nearly free use of taxpayer-owned rights-of-way and facilities.  The lawsuit also claims that S.B. 1004 unconstitutionally delegates a city’s legislative authority to control its rights-of-way to private businesses.  The City of Austin has also filed a lawsuit challenging S.B. 1004.

Interested city officials can still join the coalition by contacting Kevin Pagan, city attorney for McAllen, at kpagan@mcallen.net or 956-681-1090.

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League. 

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