The City of Victoria is in a better position to keep millions of dollars in federal funding after the federal Office of Management and Budget on July 13 elected not to change the Metropolitan Statistical Area population threshold.
The OMB defines a Metropolitan Statistical Area as a county-based urban center with at least 50,000 residents. During its 2020 update of the Standards for Delineating Core Based Statistical Areas, the OMB recommended changing the population threshold to 100,000.
This change would have jeopardized Victoria’s federal funding because many federal agencies use this the MSA designation to calculate funding allocations. For example, the City of Victoria receives federal funding as part of the Community Development Block Grant program, which supports community development and services for low-income residents, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, which oversees funding for local transportation projects.
On March 16, the Victoria City Council passed a resolution opposing the change. The resolution was submitted to the Federal Register as an official comment opposing the change and provided to U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud, who also opposed the reclassification.
On July 13, the OMB published the 2020 Standards for Delineating Core Based Statistical Areas. The OMB stated in a press release that it would maintain the MSA threshold of 50,000 residents.
“We are pleased that the OMB has decided to listen to local officials and residents who made their voices heard during the public comment period,” said Development Services Director Julie Fulgham. “Keeping our MSA designation will ensure that we can continue providing services to our growing population. The MSA designation is vital to economic development efforts within our community.”
Federal funding for the Metropolitan Planning Organization is also influenced by the U.S. Census Bureau’s urban-rural classification system. The Census Bureau is expected to announce later this year whether it will change its standards for designating urbanized Census blocks.
To learn more about the federally funded Community Development Block Grant program and Metropolitan Planning Organization, visit www.victoriatx.gov/development-services.