Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is the Council of Governments (COG) for the nine-county Bay Area. One of California's earliest COGs, ABAG was founded to protect regional assets from state control. ABAG continues to serve the Bay Area by providing a regional venue for collaboration and problem solving. ABAG's work program includes management over key regional assets, such as the San Francisco Estuary and the Bay Trail Project. It also offers a variety of cost-effective member service programs such as Pooled Liability Assurance Network (PLAN) Corporation (offering affordable liability, property insurance, claims management, risk management, and bond coverage to 30 municipalities) and financial services (offering tax-exempt capital financing for the acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation of affordable multifamily housing, health care facilities, schools, and other community facilities). ABAG POWER Natural Gas Pool conducts pooled purchasing of natural gas on behalf of 38 local governments and special districts. ABAG is also the COG that allocates the regional housing needs assessment (RHNA).
Recently, ABAG and MTC have discussed the idea of merging their functions under one organization and over the next year will begin to merge their staff.
- Bay Area Regional Energy Network--BayREN provides Bay Area homeowners the option of upgrading their homes in exchange for rebates, and offers a codes and standards program for buildings to have higher performance rates by complying with energy codes and advocating for the adoption of green building codes. BayREN has generated $9,535,973 in home upgrade projects, created 35,104 hours for home upgrade workers, and conserved 516 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
- San Francisco Bay Trail--The Bay Trail is a planned 500-mile walking and cycling path that surrounds the entire San Francisco Bay and runs through all 9 Bay Area counties, 47 cities, and 7 toll bridges. The trail currently has 350 miles in place and connects users to parks, schools, transit, and communities. In 1987, Senate Bill 100 mandated ABAG to develop a plan for the trail, which was adopted by ABAG in 1989. The vision for the Bay Trail is consistent with the plan and Bay Trail staff work closely with state and federal agencies, cities and counties, bicycle coalitions, and engaged community members to move the project forward.
ABAG has a General Assembly that meets at least once a year. For the remainder, ABAG is governed by an Executive Board that consists of 35 voting and 3 ex-officio members (see Article VII of ABAG bylaws). Eight directors come from the four smallest counties (two each from Napa, Solano, Sonoma, and Marin); one is appointed by the board of supervisors and the other is selected by the cities within the county. Eight directors (four each) come from San Mateo and Contra Costa Counties, two appointments are made by the board of supervisors and two by the cities within those counties. Fourteen directors come from Alameda and Santa Clara Counties (seven each), two appointments are made by the board of supervisors, three by the largest city in the county (Oakland and San Jose), and two by the other cities in the county. Five directors come from the City and County of San Francisco, which include the Mayor, an appointment by the Mayor, two appointments by the Board of Supervisors, and one additional representative appointed alternatively between the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors. Finally, the President, Vice President and Immediate Past President serve as ex-officio members.
MTC developed a public engagement tool to educate and engage the public around regional transportation planning constraints. It became an effective means for getting broad public input on plan elements.