What We Do… 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 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. As a state-designated Regional Transportation Planning Agency and federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for Fresno County, Fresno COG must comply with both designation requirements. Fresno COG prepares a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) that looks 25 years into the future and sets policies for a wide variety of transportation options and projects. It guides how and where people and goods will travel by identifying both existing and needed transportation facilities. 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 that are selected through an approved project selection process. To see what we are currently working on in detail view the Overall Work Program page.

Fresno County voters approved Measure C, a ½ cent transportation sales tax, in 1986 and again in 2006. Fresno COG prepared the Measure C Expenditure Plan, a guide to how $1.2 billion in Measure C transportation dollars will be spent through the year 2027. It was prepared with our partners, the cities, the County, Caltrans and the Fresno County Transportation Authority (administrators of the tax) and other community stakeholder groups.

Fresno COG implements several Measure C programs. (For information on the Measure C sales tax visit www.measurec.com.) Staff operates the Measure C Carpool Incentive Program, the Commuter and Farmworker Vanpool Subsidy Programs, the Measure C Taxi Scrip Program for seniors, and the Regional Transportation Mitigation Fee Program. Fresno COG planning staff also oversees Measure C studies and develops the Measure C Regional Program’s Short- and Long-Term Plans.

Transportation Fund Administration

The federal Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), gives Fresno COG direct responsibility for determining how two federal program funds are spent within Fresno County. The two programs are the Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP) and the Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality Program (CMAQ). In addition, the state vested responsibility in Fresno COG for the federal portion of the Transportation Enhancement Program (TE). These federal programs have strict project eligibility criteria. Project nominations are sought by Fresno COG from eligible agencies and then proceed through a selection process resulting in a project listing adopted by the Policy Board. Fresno COG’s approval is required before these state and federal funds can be utilized by the local agencies.

At the state level, the Transportation Development Act created two funds: 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, and the State Transit Assistance Fund (STA) derived from a portion of the diesel fuel tax that supports public transportation services. 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 is the utilization of a computer software package to replicate the “real world” transportation system around us (roads, intersections, traffic control devices, congestion delays, use of a transit system, etc.). Once the computer model can accurately replicate the existing conditions of a study area, it can then be used to predict future travel patterns and demands based on changes in the transportation system (e.g., new roads, wider roads with more capacity, closed roads); changes in the land use (e.g., more residential development, a new industrial site, etc.); and changing demographics (more or less people in a specific area, access to a vehicle, etc.). Travel demand forecasting is a state-of-the-art analysis tool used in the transportation planning process. By simulating the current roadway conditions and the travel demand on those roadways, defciencies in the system can be identified. It is also an important tool in planning future network enhancements and analyzing currently proposed projects.

Regional Data Center

Fresno COG is the Affiliate State Census Data Center for Fresno County. As such, we provide assistance to our member agencies and the general 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 agencies in their operations and by Fresno COG to support the transportation model.

Valleyrides.com Program

Fresno COG’s ridesharing agency hosts a website at www.valleyrides.com that provides free computer matching for individuals and companies interested in carpooling or vanpooling in/from Fresno County. The program supports and promotes transportation options such as transit, bicycling and telecommuting.

Freeway Service Patrol

Fresno COG, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol implement a Freeway Service Patrol along Freeways 41, 99, 168 and 180 through the Fresno/Clovis area during the weekday peak travel hours of 7 – 9am & 3:30 – 6:30pm. This service is free of charge and can include on-the-spot quick-­fixes or towing services to stranded motorists.

Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program

Funded by an additional $1 vehicle registration fee exclusively for Fresno County, local agencies are reimbursed costs incurred in the removal of abandoned vehicles which are in violation of local ordinances.

San Joaquin Valley Regional Blueprint

A joint effort between the eight Valley Metropolitan Planning Organizations, the Blueprint is a chance to plan for the future of transportation and land use in the Valley and at each county level. The question is how to efficiently accommodate more than nine million people in the Valley by 2050. By engaging citizens and policymakers at the local and county level, the Valley has adopted a regional vision ensuring that California’s fastest growing region will thrive into the 21st century.

Air Quality Planning

Fresno County is situated in the middle of a large air basin (including eight counties) that does not meet the 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 the 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.

Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction

SB 375 is a law requiring California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop regional reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and prompts the creation of regional plans to reduce emissions from vehicle use throughout the state. Fresno COG has been tasked with creating that regional plan or “Sustainable Communities Strategy” (SCS) for Fresno County. We must develop the SCS through integrated land use and transportation planning and demonstrate an ability to attain the proposed reduction targets by 2020 and 2035.

Housing Planning

Fresno COG prepares the Regional Housing Needs Allocation Plan. Local agencies must then accommodate their housing allocation defined by the plan within their own housing elements.

Fresno COG′s One Voice Advocacy

Fresno COG’s One Voice lobbying effort unites Fresno County communities and regional interests in a voluntary and collaborative effort, to seek federal and state funds annually for regionally signifi.cant projects. Our success: over $16 million since 2003.