Federal agency abandons Trump-era plan to downgrade Montana metropolitan cities

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Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., speaks on Capitol Hill on April 20, 2021 in Washington.

Associated Press David Erickson

Missoula is no longer in danger of losing a large chunk of federal money for housing and health care initiatives.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget announced Tuesday it is abandoning a Trump-era plan to change the population threshold a city much reach in order to be considered a Metropolitan Statistical Area. The designation is used by numerous federal agencies and programs to determine funding allocations.

The federal agency had proposed in January changing the criteria to designate only cities with 100,000 people or more, instead of the current standard of 50,000. The change would have affected hundreds of communities around the country, including Great Falls, Missoula and Bozeman — they would have been designated “micropolitan.”

U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines of Montana both applauded the move.

“Montana communities depend on certainty and reliable funding to thrive, and a shortsighted bureaucratic change like this is the last thing cities like

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