Chamber president, city officials relieved after learning Alexandria will remain a metropolitan statistical area

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 5:22 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Alexandria city officials are breathing a sigh of relief after the Office of Management and Budget announced it will hold off on changing the population requirement for a metropolitan statistical area.

Back in January, the OMB recommended that 144 municipalities across 48 states be downgraded from metropolitan statistical areas to what’s known as micropolitan destinations.

The proposal stated that only urban areas with a population of 100,000 or more would keep their MSA status, which doubled the current status of 50,000 people that has been in place for 70 years. Alexandria has an urban population of 80,000.

Thanks to letters and comments submitted by the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, city officials, including Mayor Jeff Hall, hospital staff at Rapides Regional and Cabrini and our congressional delegation, the OMB is holding off on changing the population requirement, at least for now.

This means Alexandria will remain a metropolitan statistical area, which helps with dozens of federally funded programs, including Medicare reimbursement levels, Housing and Urban Development funding and infrastructure projects.

Local chamber president Deborah Randolph says changing the designation now could have been detrimental to getting necessary funding and reopening the city.

“Coming out of the pandemic and with the vaccine available, it’s a critical time for our businesses and industries as they are able to ratchet back up and operate at full capacity in many cases. So, for something to cause us to lose funding for Alexandria and the surrounding areas, as well as our health care institutions, the timing would be particularly bad.”

Deborah Randolph, Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce President

The commission that makes recommendations relative to MSA and the designations felt as though the original threshold of 50,000 was outdated.

There’s no word yet on if or when the population requirement will change.

If passed, the federal proposal would have affected the cities of Alexandria and Hammond in the state of Louisiana.

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