Lubbock has hit a major milestone. For the first time ever, the Hub City's population now officially exceeds 200,000. That means those city limit signs will be changing soon, but what else does hitting this mark mean for the city of Lubbock?
As a general rule, making gains definitely has more advantages than disadvantages. But believe it or not, when you're talking about a city's population, more is actually less in terms of federal funding for mass transit.
You'll soon notice something different about the city limit signs around here. The count right now shows Lubbock's population at 199,564. But soon they will read 201,855. That's the population of Lubbock according to the Texas State Data Center. A population of much more prestige in the eyes of many. "A lot of companies profile communities of 200,000 and above when they're looking at relocating their business. Whether it be retail, manufacturing or distribution," says Lubbock land developer Randy Neugebauer. Neugebauer says Lubbock is now in a great position when it comes to attracting new businesses.
But Lubbock's growth isn't all positive. Citibus, for example, might be better off if the population stayed below 200,000. "We're looking at a big chunk of our budget not being there," says Citibus General Manager John Wilson. Wilson says once Lubbock's urbanized population spilled over 200,000 we actually started receiving less money from the federal government for mass transit.
Why? Well, we were in a category with cities from 50,000 to 200,000. Cities like Abilene, Amarillo and Midland. Some cities in that population bracket weren't using all their mass transit money because they didn't need it, so we took their leftovers. Now, we're in a category with cities from 200,000 to 1,000,000 people. Cities like Denton, Savannah, Georgia and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Well, all the cities in this category are using their money so there are no leftovers.
In addition to that, Citibus may be out even more money next year. The law right now says cities have to use a portion of mass transit funds for operational costs -- like fuel, drivers and mechanics. And the other portion on capital -- like new buses and equipment. But Wilson says Lubbock doesn't need new equipment as much as we need money for general operations. He's hoping lawmakers will let us spend our money the way we see fit. "We're not asking for any more money. We're just asking that the money we do get, we're able to use it the way we best can use it here locally."
Aside from Citibus issues, Neugebauer says at 200,000, Lubbock is poised for great gains in the near future.