Shoals area to keep Metropolitan Statistical Area status

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 7:29 PM CDT
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MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WAFF) - Communities across the country will not lose funding after the federal government announced it will not raise the population threshold for what qualifies as a metro area.

Leaders in the Shoals were fighting to make this happen.

“For our cities, whether it’s public housing, infrastructure, there’s different funding sources that come because we are an MSA designated area,” said Sam Mashburn with the Shoals Chamber of Commerce.

The Shoals area will continue to have those federal funding sources after the U.S. Office of Management and Budget announced they will be leaving the Metropolitan Statistical Area threshold of 50,000 people.

In March, the OMB was looking into raising the MSA threshold from the population of 50,000 to 100,000 which would cut funding for a lot of those areas.

“For example, the city of Florence automatically gets affordable housing money called CDBG money, community development block grants. We would have not received community development block grants automatically so we would have had to go through a competitive process to apply for those,” said Mashburn.

Many Shoals leaders raised their concerns about this possible change to OMB leaders in Congress.

Senator Tommy Tuberville also co-sponsored a bill to prevent an increase.

He said this is a win for the Shoals area and many MSA’s across the state.

“Keeping the designation at 50,000 ensures that critical funding streams will not be cut off for vital programs,” said Tuberville.

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