Member Profile

Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG)

Agency Type: Council of Governments
Summary Profile:

CVAG is the regional planning agency coordinating government services in the Coachella Valley.  By providing solutions to the common issues of the local governments and tribes that are its members, CVAG promotes a better quality of life and balanced growth for residents of Central and Eastern Riverside County.  

As the recognized transportation planning agency with the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), CVAG prepares a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) for the Coachella Valley.  Central to this effort is the Transportation Project Prioritization Study (TPPS), which identifies and prioritizes transportation projects in the region. The projects within the TPPS are fed into a larger regional planning effort by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).  CVAG also manages and distributes funds under the Congestion Management Air Quality (CMAQ) program, programs transportation improvement projects, and (significantly) administrates the region's Transportation Mitigation Fee Program.

In addition, as a general purpose Council of Governments, CVAG also takes on a broad array of projects to meet the needs of the region.  Here are a few projects that demonstrate the range:

  • Habitat Conservation.  As an original convener for the development of the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, CVAG now provides administrative support to the Coachella Valley Conservation Commission to protect 240,000 acres of open space and 27 species (including the big horn sheep) while streamlining development and transportation project permits in areas designated for growth.
  • Earthquake Warning System.  A founding partner in developing the Coachella Valley Earthquake Warning System providing early warning of seismic activity to area schools, hospitals, water districts, and first responders. 
  • DUI Education and Prevention.  Partnered with youth group for a "Think before you drink" event and through its safety committee, developed a regional model ordinance for DUI Vehicle Impoundments and Cost Recovery Fee.  
  • Inland Choice Energy.  In a joint study with Western Riverside COG and the newly-named San Bernardino Council of Governments (affiliated with San Bernardino County Transportation Authority) are studying the feasibility of Community Choice Aggregation to serve the greater inland desert region.
  • Plug In Electric Vehicles.  CVAG completed the Coachella Valley Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan to inventory infrastructure and highlight policies that would assist in the development of more electric vehicles. 
  • Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.   Ha.  We wish (because of the opportunity for tickets). No, this is one local area success in which CVAG has not played an organizing role.  
Number of Members: 10 Cities, Riverside County, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
Population Represented: Approximately 700,000
Staff: 16
Program Highlights:
  • CV Link--CV Link is a 50 mile transportation corridor for bicycles, pedestrians, and low-speed electric vehicles and keeps users entirely apart from cars.  Groundbreaking is expected in 2017 and the Link is expected to be complete by 2020.  More than half of public school students in the Coachella Valley live within a mile of CV Link and will be able to commute safely, while engaging in active transportation.  CV Link will span across nine cities and three tribal governments and connect users to job centers, shopping centers, and recreational destinations while promoting a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.  
  • Homelessness Committee--Through its Homelessness Committee, CVAG has brought together a long list of public and non-profit stakeholders, who have helped guide a refocused, multi-faceted strategy to address homelessness in the Coachella Valley.  CVAG also oversees Roy’s Desert Resource Center, an 80-bed emergency shelter located in north Palm Springs.  The committee has provided services for thousands of individuals since 2009, and case managers have helped nearly half of the clients in securing stable and permanent housing.
  • Green living and sustainability--Since 2009, CVAG and its jurisdictions have come together to reduce energy as part of its Desert Cities Energy Partnership.  In the fall of 2011, CVAG developed a "Green Government Initiative" on behalf of member jurisdictions to promote energy efficiency, green building and sustainability, with funding received from Southern California Edison and the California Public Utilities Commission.  As part of this initiative, now known as "Green for Life", local governments have participated in ongoing coordination and policy development.  CVAG also greenlights and oversees the PACE financing programs that operate in the region.
Board Makeup:

CVAG is governed by a 65 member General Assembly that includes the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, all mayors and council members of the incorporated cities in Eastern Riverside County, and five members tribal members each from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians.  

A 17 member executive committee meets between sessions of the General Assembly.  Membership includes the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, Mayors, and Tribal Council Chairs (unless the city or tribe appoints a designee).  City managers, the county chief executive officer and the tribal chief executive officer serve as non-voting members.  In addition, two members of the Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments elected by the cities of Coachella Valley serve as non-voting members. 

Executive Director: Tom Kirk
CALCOG Board Representative: Jan Harnik, Council Member, City of Palm Desert
Web Link: https://www.cvag.org/default.htm