Several housing, transportation and Medicare reimbursement programs are tied to communities being metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, so the designation change concerns some city officials.
In Oregon, the state designates certain funding sources to metropolitan statistical areas and any change to a city’s status could create a ripple effect, particularly when it comes to transportation funding, said Patrick Rollens, the public information officer for Corvallis.
“I won’t lie. We would be dismayed to see our MSA designation go away. We aren’t a suburb of any other, larger city in the area, so this is very much part of our community’s identity,” Rollens said. “Losing the designation would also have potentially adverse impacts on recruitment for local businesses, as well as Oregon State University.”
Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber also had questions on the transportation piece.
“For example, will it affect the status of the Corvallis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization which is key to a lot of our transportation planning,” Traber said.
If the proposal is approved, it could be the first step toward federal programs adjusting their population thresholds when it comes to distributing money to communities, leading to funding losses for the former metro areas, said Ben Ehreth, community development director for Bismarck, North Dakota, one of the MSAs on the chopping block.