Planners understand that as Northwest Arkansas expands, federal funding for the area should also

As of the 2020 census, the metropolitan areas of Northwest Arkansas again experienced population growth. As a result, the region now receives an additional $2 million in federal funding for planning, transit, transportation and other needs.

The key takeaway is that we’re still expanding, according to Jeff Hawkins, outgoing director of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission. “When it comes to federal highway funds and transit financing for capital and equipment for transit providers in metropolitan areas over 200,000, population is a critical component. This increase will increase funds.”

Tim Conklin, acting director of regional planning, estimates that 373,687 urbanized people now live in the area, an increase of 78,604 from 2010. The urban regions had 150,509 housing units, an increase of 25,252 housing units. 11 square miles have been added to the area’s urban areas.

These percentage increases were higher than those at Little Rock, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Springfield, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma or Wichita, Kansas. In fact, Springfield was losing ground.

The US Census Bureau’s urban-rural classification is a geographical division that describes the urban and rural areas of the country.

Urban areas are highly developed regions that include commercial, residential, and various non-residential land uses.

All people, houses and land that are not in an urban area are considered rural.

Conklin said last week that “city area designations don’t follow city lines.” “Always remember. The Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas-Missouri metropolitan area may not include your entire city.”

That census, Conklin said, saw a change in standards for designating urban areas. Instead of focusing on population density, we instead focused on housing unit density.

The region selected according to the criteria must contain at least 2,000 housing units or have at least 5,000 inhabitants to be considered an urban area. The previous requirement of 2,500 people has been in place since the 1910 census, but that has changed.

Conklin noted, “Once again, it does not follow city limits.” “The Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas-Missouri urbanized area includes portions of Rogers, Fayetteville and Springdale. Rural areas make up the rest of your city.”

Also, the “jump distance” changed from 2.5 miles to 1.5 miles from one metro area to another. As a result, Elkins, Pea Ridge, and Prairie Grove were no longer close enough to the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas-Missouri metropolitan area to be included in the broader metropolitan area.

In 1990, 96% of the area’s people lived in the two major cities of Fayetteville and Springdale. With the addition of Rogers and Bentonville, the urbanized area reached Benton County in 2000, and the big four cities accounted for approximately 91% of the urban population. 77% of city dwellers lived in the four largest cities in 2010, however some of the smaller cities were growing rapidly and affecting these figures.

The big four cities held 79% of the urban population in 2020 according to the new criteria.

According to Conklin, population is a key factor in the calculations used by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration to calculate how much funding a region receives. But he said the exact amount likely won’t be known until 2024.

Subordinate cash is given to urban areas in Arkansas with a population of more than 200,000. According to Conklin, Northwest Arkansas’ share increased from 26.3% in 2010 to 29.1% in 2020. According to planners, this will translate into an annual increase of about $500,000 for the Little Rock Metro Plan and nearly $2 million or more lead for Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning.

Subordinate funds are funds that a state receives from the federal government and then distributes to one or more subordinate organizations such as Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning. For example, while states receive a portion of federal highway funding, departments of transportation allocate a portion for use in urban, regional, and local areas.

This directly affects how much funding the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas-Missouri metropolitan area will receive in the future for projects such as public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, regionally significant transportation projects, and urban planning.

It’s also impacting how the Arkansas Highway Department allocates funds for transportation planning, Hawkins said. According to the 2020 census, the population of the Pine Bluff area has fallen below 50,000, meaning it no longer needs a metropolitan planning organization.

He explained that if Pine Bluff lost its Metropolitan Planning Organization, the state planning organizations would get seven of the money instead of eight.

Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning receives funding for transportation and distributes it to service providers.

Director Joel Gardner says Ozark Regional Transit is always looking for funding and any amount helps.

“With fuel costs rising, even small increases in the federal share of our revenue will have a significant positive impact.

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