Shift in federal metro status could reduce access to federal funds across Cowlitz County | News

In addition, the designation change could limit collection of Census data in Cowlitz County, which is often the basis of funding eligibility, Fashing said.

“U.S. Census data is used for distribution for almost all federal dollars that come out of Washington,” he said.

The population of the Longview Metropolitan Area core is 63,952, according to the 2010 Census, and includes the City of Longview, Kelso, Rainer, Oregon and unincorporated areas of Cowlitz County. The total classifies Cowlitz County as part of the Longview Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Support Local Journalism

Your membership makes our reporting possible.

{{featured_button_text}}

The designation has been in effect since 1980, said Fashing.

Perks of being an MSA include automatic HUD Community Development Block Grants to fund housing and infrastructure for lower-income residents, as well as Department of Transportation funds to support the Metropolitan Planning Organization, a transportation planning group that encompasses Longview, Kelso, Rainer, Oregon and unincorporated areas of Cowlitz County.

The Longview City Council will dispense nearly $480,500 in grants to local organizations and accept bids for construction projects at the regi…

Fashing said the designation change could halt direct HUD Community Development Block Grants given to Longview, leaving the city to compete with other municipalities across Washington for the state’s allocation of the funds.

This year Longview was awarded $327,954 in direct HUD Community Development Block Grants, as well as $366,284 in HUD’s HOME Investment Partnership Program, which also bases requirements on the MSA designation and benefits lower income residents, said Longview interim planning manager Adam Trimble.