DANVILLE – Danville Area Transportation Study officials hope the area’s urbanized designation will not disappear based on 2020 U.S. Census numbers.
If the designation is taken away, that would mean the loss of the DATS Metropolitan Planning Organization for regional transportation planning and possibly around $100,000 in federal Surface Transportation — Urban funding, the DATS Technical Committee discussed Thursday.
Danville Area Transportation Study is one of 16 Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Illinois.
This area’s urban designation is used for federal funding allocations — such as for buses, highways and other Community Development Block Grant funding — in addition to DATS planning and salary funding.
A minimum population of 50,000 people is required to retain an urbanized area designation.
DATS survived after the 2010 Census with 50,949 people in the urbanized area. The urbanized area includes Danville, Tilton, Catlin, Westville and Georgetown. The Census Bureau includes additional noncontiguous areas for “urban areas” in using a “jump” connection.
U.S. Census Bureau data earlier this year showed that Danville’s population, as with the state of Illinois and other areas, has continued to fall.
The U.S. Census Bureau listed Danville as one of the five fastest-decreasing metro areas.
Danville’s population has decreased from 33,027 in 2010 to 31,424 estimated in 2018.
Vermilion County’s 2010 population was 81,625. It was estimated at 76,806 in 2018 by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Illinois has lost almost 90,000 people from 2010-2018, in estimates.
The 2020 Census numbers will likely not be fully known until 2021 at the earliest, and will dictate whether DATS has to be dissolved.
Danville Senior Planner Tyson Terhune said DATS likely wouldn’t be dissolved until 2022-2023 if required to do so.
“We won’t have MPO status for the area anymore,” he said if Census numbers come in lower and there are no other Metropolitan Planning Organization definition changes.
Terhune said they plan to make the best use of the planning dollars for at least the time remaining.
Danville and the surrounding area has seen the urban designation taken away in the past, such as in 1990, and then return, such as with rule changes in 2000.
When there is no DATS, the individual agencies — Danville and Danville Mass Transit, Vermilion County, townships, towns, CRIS Health-Aging Center and Vermilion Regional Airport — are again on their own for funding their own projects.
DATS officials said construction dollars from the state won’t change, but there won’t be funds for planning. In addition, there sometimes isn't as much discretion over some funds without an Metropolitan Planning Organization designation.
Terhune said they are updating a long-range transportation plan for a couple years in case the Metropolitan Planning Organization is dissolved.
The committee also recommended approving Illinois Department of Transportation amendments for Interstate 74 work from U.S. Route 150 west of Danville to the Vermilion River and also under Tilton Road in Tilton.
Danville Mass Transit Director Lisa Beith told the committee about a Greyhound bus ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. Sept. 12 at the Richard Brazda Bus Terminal, 101 N. Hazel St., Danville.
Beith also reported proposals are due back at the end of this month for a study of the DMT Jackson Street building's space for accessibility and ticket area modifications and to add more indoor storage for buses.
Danville officials also are reviewing a freight study that was completed by Hanson engineers. There likely will be a report next month.
Vermilion County Highway Engineer Adrian Greenwell reported the county received Highway Safety Improvement Program funds for roadway improvements east of Rossville.