TMACOG Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Regional Council?
A. A council of government (COG) is a multi-service entity with state and locally-defined boundaries that delivers a variety of federal, state and local programs while continuing its function as a planning organization, technical assistance provider and “visionary” to its member local governments. As such, they are accountable to local units of government and effective partners for state and federal governments.
Conceived in the 1960s, councils of government or regional councils today are stable, broad-based organizations adept at consensus-building, creating partnerships, providing services, problem solving and fiscal management. The role of the regional council has been shaped by the changing dynamics in federal, state and local government relations, and the growing recognition that the region is the arena in which local governments must work together to resolve social and environmental challenges. These organizations have carved out a valuable niche for themselves as reliable agents and many operate more independent of federal funding. Comprehensive and transportation planning, economic development, workforce development, the environment, services for the elderly and clearinghouse functions are among the types of programs managed by regional councils. Of the 39,000 local, general purpose governments in the United States (counties, cities, townships, towns, villages, boroughs) a total of more than 35,000 are served by Regional Councils.
-Source: National Association
of Regional Councils (NARC)
Q: What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization?
A. The Federal Highway Administration has identified 384 Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). An MPO is an agency created by federal law to provide local input for urban transportation planning and allocating federal transportation funds to cities with populations of greater than 50,000. Nearly half of MPOs (178) operate as part of the Regional Council serving the same general geography. Under federal law emanating from the 1973 Highway Act and the Urban Mass Transit Act, organizations in urbanized areas are designated by their Governors to perform significant planning and programming of federally funded highways and transit projects. Through the Long Range Transportation Plan and its link to the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), MPOs are responsible for approving significant expenditures of federal dollars.
Q: What is TMACOG?
A. TMACOG is the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, a voluntary organization of dues-paying members. TMACOG members include governmental and non-governmental organizations in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan: cities, counties, villages, and townships, as well as schools and colleges, park districts, businesses, and other groups concerned with quality of life in the region. TMACOG is BOTH a Regional Council and a Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Q: Why do groups join TMACOG?
A. Members join TMACOG to work together on common problems that cross jurisdictional borders, specifically transportation, and air and water issues. Members coordinate plans for roadways, highways, railways, and bikeways that serve the entire region. Joining together, members can take better care of rivers and watersheds that drain several jurisdictions.
Q. Is TMACOG a political group?
A. TMACOG has no political affiliation and no partisan agenda. It is a neutral forum for all members to come together, to address topics that concern the entire region. TMACOG does help our region identify ways we can improve transportation, protect the environment and make thoughtful decisions about growth. TMACOG does prepare and present a legislative agenda, helping our region speak with one voice.
Q. What is the size of TMACOG?
A. TMACOG is composed of about 150 members: 100 governments and 50 non-governmental organizations. The paid professional staff is currently 23 full time employees. Throughout the year, interns are hired to work on various projects. A full list of members and staff is available.
Q. How is TMACOG organized?
A. Members of TMACOG (the General Assembly) elect the Board of Trustees and three officers including a chair. The chair appoints the Executive Committee, which is usually made up of chairs of the permanent councils and committees. The councils are: Environmental, Growth Strategies, and Transportation. The committees are: Communications; Finance, Audit, & Administration; Leadership Development; Long Range Planning & Resource Development; and Membership. The Executive Committee appoints the president who leads the staff.
Q. What does the TMACOG staff do?
A. TMACOG has a professional staff to coordinate and support the initiatives and programs of members. The TMACOG staff provides technical expertise and direction to the members. The staff organizes meetings where decisions are made, and helps secure funding for members to implement plans. They also oversee consultant studies and collect data on census and growth in the region. They analyze water and air quality studies specifically, and in general collect and analyze information that members need to make decisions.
Q. Where does TMACOG’s income come from?
A. TMACOG is organized under Chapter 167 of the Ohio Revised Code and the Michigan Public Act No. 7. TMACOG is a tax exempt organization under section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code. TMACOG’s revenue is about 64% federal and state contracts, 17% dues and assessments, 17% local project support, and 2% from other sources. TMACOG brings in $5 for every dollar that members pay in dues.
Q. What impact does TMACOG have on people in this region?
A. Millions of dollars from state and federal organizations flow into our region because of TMACOG. All federal money for transportation that comes to this region has to be planned for and presented to the government by TMACOG. TMACOG guarantees that our region’s plans for highways, bikeways, buses, and railways are agreed to by its members, and are comprehensive and correct. Funds to prevent air and water pollution or to clean up existing pollution also come to this region because TMACOG manages the required government programs and conducts the studies needed to secure grant money.
*Funding for the Veterans' Glass City Skyway came through development of TMACOG’s Long Range Transportation Plan
*The improvement of the I-75/475 intersection near the old Jeep plant. TMACOG staff evaluated options and impact, and researched costs for this project.
*Funds from the Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA are helping TMACOG coordinate member efforts to return the Maumee and Ottawa rivers to swimmable and fishable condition.
*TMACOG reviewed member needs for studies of the widening and re-routing US 24 (Fort to Port). Funding for this project is available through the TMACOG Transportation Improvement Program (the TIP).
*TMACOG and its partners created the Stormwater Management Standards Manual to help regions establish consistent stormwater control standards to establish consistent regulations, and to help communities meet permit regulations.
*TMACOG organized the first comprehensive needs analysis study of commuter transit: bus systems and other forms of mass transit in our region. Observations and recommendations from the study will be valuable for planning downtown Toledo transit and for improving regional systems that link population and employment centers.
*TMACOG manages the Share A Ride program, a carpool matching service.
*TMACOG provides public education about air quality with public outreach during Ozone Action Season (May-September) and the Gas Cap Testing and Replacement Program. TMACOG also protects air quality throughout its transportation planning process.
*Individuals in our regional community with concerns for transportation, environmental quality, growth, and commuter services can have an impact by joining many TMACOG committees that encourage citizen input. Bicycle and pedestrian planning, stream cleaning and gas cap testing are examples of TMACOG projects that welcome individual volunteers. And the input of individual citizens at public input sessions throughout the region is vital to the TMACOG vision: TMACOG will be the governmental partner of choice to coordinate regional assets, opportunities, and challenges.