JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – Jonesboro and 143 other cities in the United States will retain their metropolitan status after a federal proposal to downgrade cities was not adopted.
The federal proposal would have changed the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) designation to a minimum of 100,000 from the original designation of 50,000.
Jonesboro, Texarkana, Hot Springs and Pine Bluff were four towns in Arkansas that would have been affected by the change.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhagen said the city can now move forward with city-wide projects without fear of losing qualifications for grant money.
“The importance of this is that we can continue the process of grants,” said Mayor Copenhagen, “but more importantly, this is taxpayer money that was already going to flow to this community. It would have affected that and they would have gone to communities other than us. “
Jonesboro Unlimited chairman Mark Young said the loss of metropolitan status would have impacted the region’s economic growth.
“It’s really important that we continue to be an MSA because companies often look at these large metropolitan areas as a way to start their process of finding places they might want to do business,” Young said.
Young said Jonesboro would have to compete with rural towns in the county for grants, which would hamper county-wide growth.
Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.) And Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Along with Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro), were instrumental in ensuring the four cities of Arkansas maintain their MSA designations.
Senator Boozman said in a press release Wednesday morning: “The consequences of this change in MSA designation would have been devastating, with several cities in Arkansas possibly losing millions of dollars in funding for basic needs, including transport, housing and health care, ”adding the Bureau of Management and Budget took the concerns seriously.
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