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City of Minot News Flash

Posted on: February 6, 2023

'It puts us on another level'

City Hall snowy

The City of Minot recently achieved Metropolitan Planning Organization status with the Census Bureau.

Now, the real work begins.

Reaching MPO status opens up opportunities with federal funding, especially with transportation-related issues.

“It puts us on another level when it comes to community status,” City Engineer Lance Meyer said. “Once you hit 50,000 in population, the Census Bureau recognizes you at the MPO level and that opens up some federal funding opportunities, especially for transportation planning.”

Meyer said the City has plans to update its overall transportation plan, so reaching MPO status will allow the City to apply for federal funding to cover the costs of planning efforts.

But there is much work ahead for Meyer and other City employees. The City must create a technical advisory committee made up of City officials, City and Ward County elected officials, and representation from the City of Surrey, which was included in the MPO area. A Metropolitan Transportation Plan and improvement program must also be developed.

The MPO designation will open up potential funding sources, but it will also add another layer of approval for road projects that use federal aid. Projects will have to be approved by the MPO before they are submitted to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

“It’s just one more step in the process, but it means we’ll have to plan ahead a little more because of the time involved to get approval from the MPO before we send a project to the NDDOT,” he said. “The process still works, it could just take a little more time to get projects approved for construction.”

Creating the committees and transportation plans, as well as the MPO boundaries and entering into an agreement with the governor’s office to establish the MPO, must be completed in 2023.

Meyer said receiving MPO status does not mean the City is an Entitlement Community for HUD/CDBG funding purposes. The designations are separate, and the City has not been notified of becoming a HUD Entitlement Community.

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