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SJCOG History & Roles

SJCOG's role is to foster intergovernmental coordination, both within San Joaquin County, as well as with neighboring jurisdictions, the other regional agencies for the San Joaquin Valley, the State of California and various Federal agencies.  The specific roles of the San Joaquin Council of Governments are described below.


Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA)
In 1973, SJCOG was recognized as the Regional Transportation Planning Agency for San Joaquin County. Initially the designation related solely to the administration and allocation of Transportation Development Act funds for public transit and possible road and street projects. However, over time the role has expanded. SJCOG now serves as the agency responsible for adopting a Regional Transportation Plan, a Regional Transportation Improvement Program which programs state funds within the region's boundaries. In addition, it gives SJCOG planning and coordination responsibilities over most federal and state funding programs for transportation administered by the State of California.

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
MPO is a federal designation identifying San Joaquin Council of Governments as the agency responsible for carrying out federal guidelines and statutes for planning and coordination.  The passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act has expanded this role.  SJCOG is also responsible for approving and programming Federal transportation funds on transit and street and road projects. SJCOG's region is designated as a Transportation Management Area and is carrying out state and federal Congestion Management functions.

Airport Land Use
State law requires all counties with public use airports to establish an Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC), to assure that surrounding land uses are compatible with the airports.  SJCOG serves as the ALUC for San Joaquin County.
The Airport Land Use Plan restricts land uses based on the Federal Aviation Administration's recommended height, noise and safety rules.  In consultation with the airport operators, SJCOG staff reviews development proposals within the five airport areas of influence to determine if proposed uses meet the plan's requirements.  In many cases, mitigations are recommended to protect both airport operations and public health and safety.

Census Data Center
SJCOG serves as the State Designated Data Center for San Joaquin County, and operates   a Research and Forecasting Center. In this role, SJCOG receives the latest information on population, employment, business income characteristics and transportation from both public and private sectors.   This information helps local public agencies, chambers of commerce, and businesses with site location, market research and even grants applications. SJCOG combines U.S. Census information with data from a variety of state and local sources and when information is not available, SJCOG staff often makes statistical projections or estimates.

Congestion Management Agency (CMA)
The California Congestion Management Program was approved by the voters as part of Proposition 111.  Proposition 111 provided increased taxes on gasoline.  The Congestion Management Program was a requirement for counties to receive the increased revenues from the gasoline tax. SJCOG was designated as the CMA for San Joaquin County.  The intent of the CMA program was to monitor, and if needed, to mitigate the impacts of development in one jurisdiction on adjacent jurisdiction.  SJCOG developed a Congestion Management Plan that was approved by the SJCOG Board.

Subsequent legislation removed the requirement for metropolitan areas to maintain the Congestion Management Program in order to receive the revenue from the increased gasoline tax.  Counties were allowed to discontinue the program, but SJCOG did not elect to discontinue the program. SJCOG management has reviewed utilizing the Congestion Management Program as a tool for growth management in San Joaquin County, and may propose changes to the program for this purpose in the near future.
Local Transportation Authority (LTA)
In November of 1990, San Joaquin County voters passed a 1/2 cent increase in sales tax to support specific transportation improvements.  The monies provided under this 1/2 cent sales tax are often referred to as Measure K funds. The Measure K funds are estimated to provide $735 million, which are being distributed as follows:
Local Street Repair and Roadway Safety 35%
Congestion Relief  32.5%
Passenger Rail, Bus, and Bicycles 30%
Railroad Crossing Safety   2.5%
The agency responsible for carrying out the improvements and administering the program is the Local Transportation Authority.  SJCOG was named the Local Transportation Authority in 1990 by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. 
Transportation Demand Management Program
To help reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, the San Joaquin Council of Governments operates Commute Connection, a rideshare program. The program serves residents and employers in San Joaquin County and has a three county contract with Stanislaus, Merced, and Madera Counties to provide the same services.

Commute Connection promotes alternatives to driving alone, such as carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling and use of transit services. These alternatives are promoted directly to commuters through its toll-free hotline, web site, events at employment centers, and other promotional events such as Rideshare Week and Bike to Work Week. Commute Connection staff also work directly with employers to set up Trip Reduction Programs at jobsites. Interested commuters register with Commute Connection, and their names are put into a database which contains a list of thousands of other commuters who are interested in sharing a ride to work. The registrants then receive a matchlist with the names and contact numbers for commuters who live and work near them. The list also contains information about vanpool and transit options.

Commute Connection operates using Federal Funds under contract with the State of California, through Measure K and competes for CMAQ funding.
Fair Share Housing Plan                                                                                                    
In 1980, the State of California gave all Councils of Government the job of assigning each city and county its "fair share" of affordable housing needs. To accomplish this task, the SJCOG prepares a regional housing needs plan every five years. The plan lists how many housing units by income category are needed by each jurisdiction, according to state formulas. The purpose of these plans is to help jurisdictions prepare for future residential growth in a way that allows residents of all income levels access to housing. Localities use these housing unit figures in preparing the Housing Element for their General Plans.