Columbus to remain as metropolitan area for federal funds

Rep. Greg Pence. 

Columbus and other metropolitan statistical areas in Indiana will keep their federal designation which will help keep federal funds flowing.

Columbus Congressman Greg Pence announced the decision by the Office of Management and Budget this week, saying that the agency would keep the population threshold in place, after early discussions to lift the number. Many communities in Indiana would have fallen out of the metropolitan area category, reducing the opportunity for federal funding. Those included Columbus, Muncie, Kokomo, Terre Haute and Michigan City.

Pence’s office says he led bipartisan opposition against the change. He said that “Hoosier cities and countless others across the nation would have unnecessarily lost out on federal resources because of bureaucratic shortsightedness.”

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop said Columbus relies on federal funding. The money goes to areas such as community development, transportation and planning, as well as local street, transportation and neighborhood projects. Lienhoop said he appreciated “the assistance from Congressman Pence and our other representatives in Washington.”

In January, the OMB announced a proposal to raise the population threshold from the current 50,000 residents to a 100,000 resident bottom line.