WASHINGTON — Today, Senator Mike Braun and Senator Todd Young commended the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) decision to back off a proposal to change the federal definition of “city” and instead retain the existing Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) designation. The OMB’s proposed change would have doubled the population threshold for a city from 50,000 to 100,000 people, negatively impacting five Indiana cities – Terre Haute, Columbus, Kokomo, Michigan City-LaPorte, and Muncie — and over a hundred cities across the country.

Senators Braun and Young heard from many Mayors across Indiana who would be negatively affected by this decision, and in March wrote a letter urging OMB to deny the proposal that would double the minimum population required for an MSA designation. In the letter, the senators emphasized that, “each of these areas of the state have used a regional approach to economic development and positive impacts from each of these metro areas is felt in surrounding and more rural counties.” The senators also joined a broader bipartisan Senate letter to the OMB.

You can read their letter here.

“Hiking the population threshold to be defined as a city would be a terrible idea, and I’m glad the White House Office of Management and Budget listened to representatives like Senator Young, myself, and several Indiana mayors and backed off this proposal which would have negatively impacted many Indiana cities,” said Senator Braun. “This would have negatively impacted not only the municipalities themselves, but caused a ripple effect for constituents in the broader region that rely on these cities as economic drivers in their areas of the state.”

“I’m glad the Office of Management and Budget listened to our concerns and backed off its proposal to double the minimum population requirement for a Metropolitan Statistical Area designation. The proposed change would have excluded Terre Haute, Columbus, Kokomo, Michigan City-LaPorte, and Muncie from this important designation, making it more difficult for these communities to receive federal resources for housing, transportation, health care, and more,” said Senator Young. “We listened to the concerns of Hoosiers and took action to stop this misguided proposal from moving forward.”

“The City of Columbus is pleased the OMB did not substantially change the standards for delineating core based statistical areas, which allows the city to maintain its MSA designation,” said Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop. “As many other communities across the nation, we rely on federal funding to help in many areas, including community development, transportation and planning. Many local street, transportation and neighborhood projects benefit from these dollars and enhance our ability to provide services to city and regional residents, particularly under-served populations. We appreciate the hard work from Senators Braun and Young, and our other Congressional representatives, who partnered with us in making federal officials aware of the importance of this designation for our city.”

“Maintaining the MSA threshold at 50,000 is imperative for a community such as Terre Haute,” said Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett. “In a City of just over 60,000 citizens, this ensures our community continues to receive our fair share of federal dollars to invest back into the local community and allows Terre Haute to remain competitive with multiple funding opportunities.  We are grateful for federal leadership for taking a stance on the issue.”

“The City of La Porte is appreciative of Senator Braun and Senator Young’s efforts in working to protect our status as an MSA,” said La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody. “If the Office of Management and Budget had implemented the recommendation of the Metropolitan Statistical Review Committee, the Michigan City/La Porte area would have been negatively impacted by the inability to apply for federal funding. As well, the Michigan City/La Porte area would no longer appear in Site Selector or Company-directed searches using MSAs as a filter or a source of data.  We are thankful to our Indiana Senators’ efforts in this matter.”

“The City of Kokomo is more than pleased to hear that the OMB has heard the collective concerns of municipalities like ours and has decided not to change the delineation of MSA’s as was being proposed,” said Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore. “Keeping the MSA Metropolitan designation at 50,000 will allow Kokomo to continue to compete with other larger metropolitan areas for economic development. We want to personally thank Senator Braun and Senator Young for their support in opposing that proposed change which will allow the Kokomo area to continue its progress in growth.”

“I was pleased that Senator Braun, Senator Young and Congressman Pence listened to my concerns over the Metropolitan Statistical Areas threshold, as it was an important decision for the City of Muncie,” said Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour. “I along with our Hoosier leadership in Washington felt very strongly that drastic changes like the original proposal would have fostered a loss of confidence among those looking to create a future in Muncie. My office is always concerned about how changes on a federal level can impact our community.”