FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - Two congressmen from Alabama joined more than 50 other U.S. representatives in expressing concern over a potential change in the minimum population for a Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Our news partners at the Times Daily report that U.S. Representatives Robert Aderholt and Mo Brooks signed a letter sent to Rob Fairweather, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, opposing the change.
“Specifically, we are opposed to the reclassification of a Metropolitan Statistical Area as an area with a population of at least 100,000,” the letter states. “This change will result in 144 areas in 45 states and Puerto Rico losing their MSA designation.”
The current minimum population is 50,000. Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, Tuscumbia, and parts of rural Colbert and Lauderdale counties are included in the Shoals MSA. Increasing the population to at least 100,000 would remove the MSA designation from the Shoals, leading to less federal funding for the area.
Keith Jones, executive director of the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments, said he’s encouraging local governments to pass resolutions urging the OMB to deny the committee’s request to increase the minimum population.
The criteria used by the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards Review Committee is based on one factor — “that the minimum population required for an urban area to qualify as an MSA has not kept pace with population growth of the U.S.,” according to the letter.
Because the U.S. population has more than doubled since 1950, the committee believes the minimum MSA population standard should double as well.