About Fresno COG

Fresno COG Brochure in pdf printing format

Watch our short video:  We Are Fresno COG

What is the Fresno Council of Governments?

Fresno Council of Governments (Fresno COG) is a consensus builder, developing acceptable programs
and solutions to issues that do not respect political boundaries. Fresno COG is a voluntary association of local governments – one of California’s 38 regionalplanning agencies and one of 500+ nationwide. In 1967, incorporated city and Fresno County elected officials established the agency, formalizing it in 1969 through a Joint Powers Agreement. Fresno COG undertakes comprehensive regional planning with a transportation emphasis, provides citizens an opportunity to be involved in the planning process and supplies technical service to its members.

Who are the Fresno COG Members?

Fresno COG’s Member Agencies

City of Clovis City of Mendota
City of Coalinga City of Orange Cove
City of Firebaugh City or Parlier
City of Fowler City of Reedley
City of Fresno City of San Joaquin
City of Huron
City of Sanger
City of Kerman City of Selma
City of Kingsburg County of Fresno

Who are the Member Representatives?

Members are represented on the Policy Board by the Mayors of each incorporated city, and the Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, or their designated alternates. The Policy Board governs the agency, setting policy and guiding work activities. The Board is assisted in their decision-making process by the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC), comprising each member agency’s Chief Administrative Officer. The process is also assisted by expert staff from member agencies, citizen and interest groups, and other stakeholders.

Our Voting System

The Fresno COG has a “double-weighted” voting system, which provides for an urban/rural balance as opposed to either area dominating. Each member has a percentage vote based upon population. To approve any action the vote must pass two tests:

  1. Agencies representing over 40% of the population must be in favor of an action, and
  2. A Majority of all the members must support the action; that is, nine of the sixteen members.

How is the Council of Governments is Funded

Fresno COG is partially supported by contributed dues from its 16 members, however, the major revenue sources include federal and state grants. The agency has no taxing or legislative authority.

What We Do…

Primary Functions

Fresno COG’s primary functions are transportation planning and programming funds to implement projects within the Fresno County region. As a state-designated Regional Transportation Planning Agency and federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for Fresno County, Fresno COG carries out the metropolitan transportation planning process. That process requires Fresno COG to prepare short and long-term transportation plans and programs in accordance with state and federal government regulations. These plans identify how the region will manage and operate a multi-modal transportation system (including transit, highway, bicycle, pedestrian, and other transportation facilities) to meet the region’s economic, transportation, development, and sustainability goals.

Regional Transportation Plans

Fresno COG prepares a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), a long-range planning document that defines how the region plans to invest in the transportation system over 20+ years. The RTP is based on regional goals, multi-modal transportation needs for people and goods, and estimates of available funding.

Sustainable Communities Strategy

The Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) is a component of the RTP, required by SB 375, which, when integrated with the transportation network and other transportation measures and policies, will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from passenger vehicles and light trucks to achieve the GHG reduction targets set by the California Air Resources Board.

Regional Housing Needs Assessment

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) is a process mandated by California state law that requires cities and unincorporated areas of counties to plan for new housing that accommodates projected population growth RHNA operates on an eight-year cycle.

Federal Transportation Improvement Program

Program Fresno COG prepares the region’s Federal Transportation Improvement Program, a four-year program of financially constrained transportation projects consisting of highway, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects.

Measure C Implementation Program

Fresno County voters approved Measure C, a ½ cent transportation sales tax, in 1986 and again in 2006. The extension expenditure plan guides how $1.2 billion in Measure C transportation dollars will be spent through 2027. Fresno COG prepared the plans in partnership with the cities, Fresno County, Caltrans, the Fresno County Transportation Authority (administrators of the tax) and other community stakeholder groups. Fresno COG staffs the Measure C Citizen Oversight Committee and implements several Measure C programs. The programs include the Measure C Carpool Incentive Program, the Commuter and Agworker Vanpool Subsidy Programs, the Measure C Senior Scrip Program, and the Regional Transportation Mitigation Fee Program. Fresno COG planning staff also oversees the New Technology Reserve Fund and Transit-Oriented Development Program and develops Measure C’s short and long-term funding plans.

Special Plans and Studies

Fresno COG conducts studies and oversees regional planning for projects that receive grant, one-time or other funding. Examples include the Fresno-Madera State Route 41 and Avenue 9 Sustainable Corridors Study, the Regional Safety Plan, and the Transport California System Project. Information about past and current projects is available on Fresno COG’s website under the Planning tab.

Transportation Fund Administration

Fresno COG is responsible for determining how two federal program funds are spent within Fresno County: the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STPG) and the Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality programs (CMAQ). These federal programs have strict project eligibility criteria. Fresno COG seeks project nominations from eligible agencies and then proceeds through a selection process resulting in a project listing the Policy Board adopts.

At the state level, the Transportation Development Act created two funds: The State Transit Assistance Fund (STA) derived from a portion of the diesel fuel tax that supports public transportation services and the Local Transportation Fund (LTF), a portion of state sales tax that returns to local government for funding of bicycle and pedestrian facilities, public transportation or streets and roads. Both funds are apportioned to member agencies on a population basis, though some of the STA funds are apportioned directly to transit operators based on their farebox revenues.

Travel Demand Modeling

Travel demand modeling uses a computer software package to replicate the “real world” transportation system around us (roads, intersections, congestion delays, use of a transit system, or pedestrian facilities etc.). It is used to forecast future travel patterns and demands based on changes in the transportation system such as new roads, additional bike lanes, expanded transit services, changes in land use and changing demographics. This state-of-the-art analysis tool simulates current roadway conditions and the travel demand on those roadways, identifying deficiencies and future need.

Air Quality Planning

Fresno County is situated in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley’s large air basin (including eight counties) that does not meet state or federal air quality standards. Therefore, emission reductions are required from all contributing sources. Fresno COG is required to document that transportation programs, plans, and projects are consistent with, or “conform” to state and federal plans to protect air quality. Thus, transportation planning involves not only Fresno County agencies, but the local air district, the other seven counties, as well as state and federal agencies.

Regional Data Center

Fresno COG is the Affiliate State Census Data Center for Fresno County. As such, we help our member agencies and the public in obtaining, analyzing and utilizing census and other demographic data.

COG’s Traffic Monitoring Program

This program provides current and consistent data on countywide traffic. Selected sites are monitored through traffic counts, and the traffic volume results are used by member agency operations and by Fresno COG’s transportation model.

Valleyrides.com Program

Fresno COG’s ridesharing agency provides free computer ridematching for individuals and companies interested in carpooling or vanpooling in/from Fresno County. The program supports, provides information, and promotes transportation options such as transit, bicycling and telecommuting. It also houses sjv511.org’s real time traveler information.

Freeway Service Patrol

Fresno COG, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol jointly operate a Freeway Service Patrol along Freeways 41, 99, 168 and 180 through Fresno. A private tow truck company provides patrol service Monday through Friday during morning and evening commute hours with either free, on-the-spot quick-fixes or towing services to stranded motorists.

SB 743 Local Assistance Program

Fresno COG staff provides modeling services to development communities and transportation consultants for vehicle miles traveled analysis. This analysis is required by Senate Bill 743, which was codified in CEQA regulations.

Public Transit Planning

The Fresno COG Policy Board established its Social Service Transportation Advisory Council (SSTAC) in 1988 to review transit issues with an emphasis on annually identifying transit needs within Fresno County. Transit needs include those of transit-dependent and transit-disadvantaged persons, including the elderly, disabled and persons of limited means.