Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG)
The Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Stanislaus Region as designated by the federal government, and the Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA), as well as a Local Transportation Authority (LTA). With the election in November 2016, StanCOG became a sales tax authority when Measure L was adopted by county voters.
StanCOG is also responsible for administering the California Transportation Development Act. These funds, derived from the state sales tax and gasoline tax, are available to local agencies for transportation planning, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, public transportation services, and street and road projects. The StanCOG Policy Board authorized the establishment of a Consolidated Transportation Services Agency (CTSA) in Stanislaus County to coordinate transportation services to seniors and persons with disabilities.
In addition, StanCOG serves its County in the following ways:
- California Vanpool Authority (CalVans). StanCOG joined with eight other RTPAs and MPOs to create a JPA to fund, operate and otherwise manage public transportation projects and programs aimed at providing qualified agricultural workers with safe, affordable vehicles they could use to drive themselves and others to work. CalVans operates as a Public Transit Agency.
- Amtrak. StanCOG has joined with several other agencies as a member of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority to operate Amtrak passenger rail services from Bakersfield to Oakland and Sacramento (others include: Alameda County, Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Fresno Council of Governments, Kings County Association of Governments, Merced County Association of Governments, Sacramento Regional Transit, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, Stanislaus Council of Governments, and Tulare County Association of Governments).
- Abandoned Vehicles. StanCOG serves as the Abandoned Vehicle Authority.
- Goods Movement. StanCOG continues to focus on the Goods Movement needs of the San Joaquin Valley. StanCOG coordinates with other MPO's on goods movement activities in the areas of truck, rail, air, and port shipping.
- Air Quality Conformity. StanCOG works with the San Joaquin Valley Air District and the 7 other San Joaquin Valley MPOs to address some of the most challenging air quality problems in the country.
- Measure L--Passed on November 8, this ½ cent sales tax measure is estimated to generate $960 million over the course of the measure's lifetime (25 years). Some highlights of the propose expenditure plan include 65% of revenue be used for local projects, $48 million for bicycle and pedestrian network improvements, and $20 million for need-based transportation services for seniors, veterans, and disabled residents. StanCOG conducted a comprehensive public outreach program, which allowed residents to identify and prioritize the region's needs.
- Ag preservation--Stanislaus County's main industry and source of revenue is its agriculture. Preservation is a critical aspect of StanCOG's regional planning and Stanislaus County has taken several measures in order to conserve farmland. The 2014 RTP/SCS focuses on growth patterns that minimize impacts on prime ag land. In addition, Stanislaus County has an initiative that, for the next 30 years, restricts the County from approving rezoning or re-designation of unincorporated lands from agricultural and open space to residential use without the approval from a majority of voters. StanCOG continues to apply for various grants related to farmland preservation and is a partner in the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint planning process.
The Policy Board is comprised of 3 council members representing the City of Modesto, 1 representative from each of the other 8 city councils in Stanislaus County, 5 County Supervisors, and 1 ex-officio member representing Caltrans District 10.
A highlight of the joint ARB-CTC meeting was the joint presentation by the 8 valley metropolitan planning organizations. Their presentations highlight several programs throughout the region that were bearing fruit in terms of community building and reducing emissions.
Fourteen CALCOG members have joined a joint powers authority to operate CalVans, which offers over 800 Vanpools statewide that collective take more than 300,000 vehicle miles traveled off the roads . . . every day.