Hoeven: Administration Ends Proposal to Change Metro Area Status

Senator Pressed OMB to Abandon Change, Outlining Negative Impacts

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has abandoned its proposal to change the minimum population to qualify as a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) from 50,000 to 100,000. Hoeven worked to stop the proposal which would have negatively impacted communities in North Dakota as the MSA designation is used in funding formulas for multiple federal programs, as well as in determining geographical regions for federal labor market statistics.

“We worked to stop this misguided proposal that would have negatively impacted more than 140 communities across the U.S. including Bismarck, Minot and Grand Forks,”said Senator Hoeven. “We appreciate OMB heeding our call to abandon the change, which would have directly affected the federal funding that these communities receive for infrastructure, health care, housing and other federal programs. Changing the MSA metric would have been short-sighted, with far-reaching impacts for these communities.”

“The fact that the Office of Management and Budget will not be pursuing the change at this time will ensure that essential community services, funded by various federal agencies which consider population size and MSA status, will continue into the foreseeable future. We are very grateful the current threshold will remain in place at 50,000 people and thankful to Senators Hoeven, Cramer and Representative Armstrong for working hard for the residents of Bismarck and the citizens of North Dakota,” said Mayor Steve Bakken, City of Bismarck.

“Thank you to Senator John Hoeven and the entire Congressional delegation for their tremendous support maintaining OMB’s existing MSA requirements.  This decision provides the City of Grand Forks essential federal support for key infrastructure and municipal economic development and investment.  This is a great day for federal and local partnerships,” said Mayor Brandon Bochenski, City of Grand Forks.

“The decision to keep the MSA threshold at 50,000 is great news for Minot as we await the results of the 2020 census.  When Minot reaches the entitlement milestone it will open a myriad of opportunities for economic development and entitlement dollars for the community,” said Mayor Shaun Sipma, City of Minot

Hoeven worked to ensure that the administration did not move forward with this proposal. In March, Hoeven urged the Acting OMB Director to reject the change and joined his colleagues in stressing the negative impacts that changing the criteria would have on over 140 rural communities across the country including Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot.

Additionally, Hoeven joined Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and a bipartisan group of senators in outlining to the OMB Acting Director the negative consequences of the proposal on rural communities. Click here for the full letter. Hoeven also joined Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, Kevin Cramer and others in pressing OMB Deputy Administrator Dominic Mancini, who oversees the agency at OMB responsible for governmental statistics, to abandon the proposal. The senators wrote that “this change could result in the loss of federal programming for many small- and mid-sized counties, cities and towns across the country.”