Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) is a collaboration of regional governments representing one of the largest agricultural centers in the world, and we are committed to improving the quality of life for our communities. We create regional plans for building regional projects, coordinating local transit programs and fostering partnerships to build multi-family housing. We strive to meet national standards as we work to improve air quality and create more equitable accessibility to critical resources for all of our residents, building new means of active transportation and improving existing infrastructure. We rely on science and local data to both respond to current housing and transportation needs and to prepare for forecasted growth. We find modern solutions for the unique challenges presented by our geographically and socioeconomically diverse districts.
TCAG is a cooperative organization formed by a joint powers agreement in 1971, representing the eight incorporated cities of our jurisdiction (Dinuba, Exeter, Farmersville, Lindsay, Porterville, Tulare, Visalia, and Woodlake) as well as the County of Tulare at large. Our purpose is to assist local jurisdictions in obtaining federal assistance by providing advice, counsel, and professional direction; review and coordinate applications for programs utilizing federal funding; and, as a Local Clearinghouse, coordinate state grants by circulating notices, collecting comments, and reporting to the TCAG Board. TCAG also operates as a Regional Data Center (RDC), which is a state-designated center for handling and coordinating census activity. This includes providing data to interested agencies and tracking annual projections.
Our roles, and our opportunities to serve Tulare County, has only grown since then. We became a designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in 1982 in order to coordinate the continuous, cooperative, and comprehensive planning process in the Visalia Urbanized Area. An MPO is a federal designation (under the Federal Highway Act of 1973) for a policy-making body made up of local and transportation agencies. It is linked to a metropolitan area of over 50,000 people and is responsible for the distribution of federal transportation funds, as well as planning for transit, housing, air quality, and modeling.
We also operate as Tulare County's Council of Governments (COG), which delivers a wide variety of federal, state, and local programs. Through technical assistance and collaboration with local governments, COGs provide a regional perspective to support member agencies and activities. This includes transportation impact fees, lobbying, and mitigation banking.
Under the role of the Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA), a state-designated policy-making body made of local and transportation agencies, we administer the adoption of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), the Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNA), the Regional Bicycle Plan, bus service, unmet transit needs, and transit development plans.
As the Tulare County Transit Authority (TCTA), we regulate and provide administrative support for public transportation. This authority was created with the passage of Measure R, a sales tax designated to fund transportation projects in the region. The TCTA manages Measure R activity, in conversation with the Measure R Citizen Oversight Committee (COC).
The Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Authority is made up of local elected officials that oversee local efforts to abate abandoned vehicles. We strive to collect and distribute necessary funds to keep our communities free from the public nuisance, and the health and safety hazards, that abandoned vehicles can pose.
We also staff the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) for Tulare County, which is not focused on transportation and has its own independent board and laws. At the end of World War II, California experienced a tremendous population increase. This resulted in the sporadic formation of cities and special service districts. California's agricultural land was converted to urban uses. Premature and unplanned development created inefficient, expensive systems of delivering public services using various small units of local government. Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr. responded to this problem in 1959 by appointing the Commission on Metropolitan Area Problems to study and make recommendations on the "misuse of land resources" and the growing complexity of overlapping local governmental jurisdictions. The Commission's recommendations on local governmental reorganization were introduced in the Legislature in 1963, resulting in the creation of Local Agency Formation Commissions, or "LAFCOs."
Interlaid within and between our communities are over 4,000 miles of maintained road, spanning an area of nearly 5,000 square miles. In the heart of California's Central Valley between Los Angeles and Sacramento, Tulare County spans from Dinuba in the north nearly to Delano in the south; from the 14,000 feet elevation of the Sierra Nevada range in the east to the low 177 feet elevation of the Valley floor in the west. With a history as rich as our soil, Tulare County remains an integral element of the California legacy.