On Wednesday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that it would keep current guidelines for Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) designation in place. They had been considering a plan to double the population requirement, which would have eliminated the MSA designation for 8 West Virginia cities, causing a loss of millions of dollars in future grants, housing funds, and Medicare reimbursements.
"This is a huge win for West Virginia, where changing the MSA definition would have adversely affected 8 cities in our state alone and cost our state tens of millions of dollars", said McKinley. "Many federal programs related to housing, transportation, Medicare, and other key areas are tied to MSA designations. Thank you to the many local officials who were instrumental in bringing this issue to the forefront and working with us to keep this change from happening."
In March, Congressman McKinley led a letter, signed by all Members of the West Virginia Congressional Delegation, opposing changes to the MSA standards, and calling on the OMB to leave the population requirements as-is.
An MSA is defined as having at least one area with a population of 50,000 or more and serves to group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for census and compilation of data, including funding of many federal programs. The recent recommendation by the Committee to increase the minimum population to 100,000 would have been detrimental to Huntington, Charleston, Martinsburg, Beckley, Parkersburg, Morgantown, Weirton, and Wheeling's economy.
Letter led by Rep. McKinley can be found here.
Roll Call article on ruling can be found here.
Local news article on initial concerns can be found here.