Mega Urbanized Area
Statutorily, the Mega grant program must ensure among recipients: geographical diversity; and, a balance between rural and urban communities.
A project is designated as urban if it is located within or on the boundary of a 2010 Census-designated Urbanized Area (UA), and that UA had a population greater than 200,000. If a project is not designated as urban, it is designated as rural.
A project will be designated as rural if it is located:
- In an UA that had a population less than 200,000 in the 2010 Census, or
- In a Census designated Urban Cluster, or
- Outside an UA.
For example, a project located in an Urbanized Area with a population of 150,000 will be designated as rural under the FY 2022 Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant opportunity (MPDG). In contrast, a project located in an Urbanized Area with a population of 250,000 will be designated as urban, even if the city or town in which the project is located has a population of 100,000.
Note: the for the MPDG opportunity, the rural or urban designation of the project applies throughout for all three (Mega, INFRA, and Rural) grant opportunities.
To determine if a location is in a Census-Designated UA, please consult Census maps of Urbanized Areas:
- https://tigerweb.geo.census.gov/tigerweb2020/ (Be sure to select “Vintage” Census 2010, then select Urban Areas and zoom to your project location)
- https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-maps/2010/geo/2010-census-urban-areas.html (detailed PDF maps for every UA)
For projects that include expenditures in both urban areas and rural areas, the Department will designate the project as urban or rural based on where the majority of project funds will be spent.