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Old 11-04-2010, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Huntington, WV
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Default Census Burea Plans to Combine Charleston and Huntington Urbanized Areas

This could definately be interesting. Having read the whole article, I wasn't aware that an Urbanized Area designation existed. It seems that the Urbanized Areas are the higher population density areas of an MSA. They list the Charleston UA at 181,150 and the Huntington UA at 177,550 for a total of 358,700 people. It also mentions that this may lead to combining the MSAs of the two areas eventually as well. The Charleston MSA has about 305,000 and the Huntington MSA has about 285,000 which would make a total of about 590,000 people. This could definately catch the eye of more businesses, which would be great, but it may mean less federal funding for the two areas combined for things like public transit. I'll post a link to the article once it comes on-line.

Urban area - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

HUNTINGTON — A Census Bureau plan to combine Charleston and Hunting*ton into one, large urbanized area may mean short-term pains for some but a long*term benefit to the entire region.

Those compiling the 2010 Census believe new population data will recognize the Interstate 64 cor*ridor between Huntington and Charleston as one continuous sub*urban area. Previous data had the two cities’ urban areas separated by a mere eight-tenths of a mile gap in Culloden.

The likely merger recently came to the attention of local transit officials, who worry any newfound togetherness may lead to a drop in federal funding with added restrictions on how federal money can be used.

But those taking a broader view see the possible merger as a boost for economic development efforts.

They say consolidating the two urbanized areas could be a first step toward a merged, Charleston-Huntington Metropolitan Statistical Area, another type of federal designation. That could launch Charleston-Huntington into the nation’s top 100 MSAs and more likely to catch the attention of top companies looking to expand their businesses.


http://webmedia.newseum.org/newseum-multimedia/dfp/pdf4/WV_HD.pdf (broken link)
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Outside of Pittsburgh
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Interesting. I also wondered myself why the areas are not counted together. The I-64 region between the two cities is usually busy and the two areas just naturally blend in together.

I looked at the urbanized area map of the area, and indeed, it does slice right through Culloden. Also Charleston's urbanized area extends all the way to Montgomery and Huntington's area goes all the way out to Ironton, OH.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Clendenin, WV
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Looks interesting!

Hope it is a good thing
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:04 AM
 
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The fact that they hadn't done it before when less than a mile separated the two points out the rigidity, and to a large degree irrationality of their designations in the first place. They should have been combined all along. Maybe this is what Tim needs to get a new airport in Putnam County?

You can drive from the south side of Morgantown to the north side of
Fairmont in less than 15 minutes, and from the south side of Fairmont to the north side of Clarksburg in 10 minutes, and from Morgantown to Mount Morris, PA in five minutes but those areas are not merged. Mt. Morris is actually part of the Pittsburgh metro area even though I could literally ride there easily on a bicycle from my home in Morgantown.

The Wheeling and Steubenville areas were once the same MSA, and there was some logic to that, but then they decided that because there was a three mile stretch between the two (sandwiched between the hills and the Ohio River) that had few houses they would break them into two seperate areas. The combined MSA at the time was 230,000 people. They made the split, but it really made no difference. Both towns continued to lose population and industry.

My opinion is the Census Bureau has to continually baffle us with bull$hit in order to justify their existence. Speaking of their Urbanized Area designation, if I'm not mistaken Morgantown is considered to be in the Pittsburgh Urbanized Area, although there is not absolutely contiguous urban development between our area & the the City of Pittsburgh itself. That could change, but I don't think it applies at this time. Maybe absolute contiguity is not the issue for the huge areas like Pittsburgh? I know NYC's area covers most of Connecticut and basically 60 miles in every direction and there are some (small) undeveloped areas in the mix. Don't they also have a Megalopolis designation for the area from Boston to Washington, DC?

Last edited by CTMountaineer; 11-04-2010 at 10:21 AM..
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:26 AM
 
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The only problem I see it the constant bickering between the two cities. The midway jetport as an example. As long as funding is given to the seperate metro areas by the Feds, based on the amount of people in those areas, and not just dumped into the State political machine to divide, it could be a good thing.
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlb4htown View Post
The only problem I see it the constant bickering between the two cities. The midway jetport as an example. As long as funding is given to the seperate metro areas by the Feds, based on the amount of people in those areas, and not just dumped into the State political machine to divide, it could be a good thing.
You got that right. Any time the state politicos get their hands on it they will find a way to mess it up.

According to what I am reading, the primary determinent for such designations is having at least 50,000 people in the area defined living at a density of at least 1,000 people per square mile. The Pittsburgh region, for example, easily meets this standard and has a designation of more than 2 million people. I suspect they could apply this designation to a lot more areas than they are currently utilizing, but only take the time to do the appropriate research when politicians call their hand.

Urbanized Area (UA)
An urbanized area is an agglomeration of at least 50,000 population living at a density of at least 1,000 persons per square mile. UA boundaries are defined at the block level and do not cover entire counties. They are important for transportation funding.

Thus, the primary benefit is possible greater access to Federal transportation funds.
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Old 11-04-2010, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Outside of Pittsburgh
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Clarksburg's urban cluster (with only 32,000, it's too small to be an urban area), is only about one mile from Fairmont's urban cluster (with about 36,000). The dividing line is apparently the Gypsy community along Route 19, which begins as Fairmont UC. Everything south of Gypsy is a part of Clarksburg UC. (I love looking at census maps!)

Route 19 between Clarksburg and Fairmont is rather built up. The population of the small incorporated towns and unincorporated hamlets isn't much, but it adds up.

If the Clarksburg and Fairmont UC were combined, it would meet the UA definition of having over 50,000. But apparently the Census sees it differently based on their criteria.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Huntington, WV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTMountaineer View Post
Speaking of their Urbanized Area designation, if I'm not mistaken Morgantown is considered to be in the Pittsburgh Urbanized Area, although there is not absolutely contiguous urban development between our area & the the City of Pittsburgh itself.
It looks like you are mistaken based on this map: http://ftp2.census.gov/geo/maps/urba...ua59275_01.pdf It looks like the UA doesn't even extend to the PA border as it is based on population density.

I think that is the main reason that the Huntington and Charleston UAs are being combined is because the eastern portion of Cabell County has seen a lot of growth and they recently built a planned community in Culloden, I believe. That may have been enough to bridge that small gap that had previously existed.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Huntington, WV
2,920 posts, read 3,447,375 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlb4htown View Post
As long as funding is given to the seperate metro areas by the Feds, based on the amount of people in those areas, and not just dumped into the State political machine to divide, it could be a good thing.
This is key if Huntington is to see growth from this change. That is definately a concern of people here is that Charleston would have more control of where the funding goes and Huntington would get the short end of the stick, so to speak.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Huntington, WV
2,920 posts, read 3,447,375 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTMountaineer View Post
I suspect they could apply this designation to a lot more areas than they are currently utilizing, but only take the time to do the appropriate research when politicians call their hand.

Thus, the primary benefit is possible greater access to Federal transportation funds.
I think the designation can only change if population density changes and this takes some of the politics out of it.

And actually, getting a higher designation like Huntington and Charleston are may likely give them less access to Federal Transportation funds. Here's a quote from the article:

Together, the two would cover 220 square miles and boast a com*bined population of 354,568. That could rank as the 89th largest pop*ulation nationally among urban*ized areas. Separately, Charleston’s rank is 166th and Huntington-Ash*land’s is 171st. Local transit officials worry the merger of the two urban areas into one with a larger population would jeopardize $3.7 million in federal funds given annually to Hunting*ton’s Tri-State Transit Authority and Charleston’s Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority. Congressional legislation restricts any urbanized area with more than 200,000 people from using fed*eral funds to subsidize operational costs, such as salaries and fuel.

Set apart, the local transit systems fall below that threshold, but together they will surpass it by nearly 155,000. Both general managers have many questions. TTA’s Paul Davis said talk of the merger took him by surprise.

“It doesn’t look really rosy,” Davis told his board members last month. “We had never dreamed they would do something like this.”

KRT annually receives $2.5 million in federal funds (21 percent of its annual budget) to TTA’s allotment of $1.2 million (18 percent of TTA’s budget), according to Davis and KRT general manager Dennis Dawson.

Davis speculates the merger could cause a $700,000 drop. Dawson believes a decrease is most likely, although he holds tight to prior instances when a growing area received an increase.
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