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How the government defines "metropolitan" just became harder to change

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Skyline of Bay City, Michigan

A bill that makes it harder for the federal government to change the definition of a metropolitan area has been signed into law.

The way the federal government defines rural, urban and metropolitan directly impacts how those communities receive federal resources.

Months ago, the White House proposed increasing the population threshold for metropolitan areas from fifty thousand to one-hundred thousand.

"They could have put communities in Michigan like Bay City and Midland at risk of losing access to critically important federal resources that support healthcare, education, housing, and so much more," said Michigan Senator Gary Peters, author of the new law.

Several new steps within the federal government are now required to change a metro-area's status and it requires reports on how an area would be impacted by the change.

"My new law will make sure that the federal government carefully studies the impacts of any possible future changes to this classification before they're made so that we can prevent unintended consequences," said Peters.

Other metros areas in Michigan impacted by the legislation include Battle Creek, Jackson, Monroe and Niles-Benton-Harbor.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.