What We Do

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Insights into the Agency

SBCAG is a regional planning agency that takes on big challenges, aiming to find solutions for sustainable transportation, housing, and an equitable quality of life across Santa Barbara County.

The agency was established in 1966 as a voluntary council of governments. It is recognized as an independent public agency under a joint powers agreement executed by Santa Barbara County and each of the eight general purpose city governments in the county. The governing board consists of all five, county board of supervisors plus one representative from each city council. SBCAG is an agency uniquely poised to provide a forum for regional collaboration and to create transformative regional change.

With a staff of 20 and an annual budget of about $100 million, SBCAG provides planning, project management, grant administration, alternative transportation commuter services, and distributes local, state, and federal transportation funds to advance regional transportation projects for the benefit of all residents of Santa Barbara County.

Key Roles and Responsibilities

Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA)

Designated by the California Transportation Agency, SBCAG is responsible for the multi-modal transportation planning, programming, and fund allocation required by state statutes. This includes the annual allocation of Transportation Development Act (TDA) funds.

Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC)

SBCAG is designated as the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) and is responsible for protecting public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring that vacant lands in the vicinity of airports are planned and zoned for uses compatible with airport operations. To do this, SBCAG must determine that the adoption of local land use plans and policies will minimize the public’s exposure to excessive noise and safety hazards.

Local Transportation Authority (LTA)

As the Local Transportation Authority (LTA), SBCAG is responsible for administering the 1/2 cent county-wide sales tax authorized by voter approval of Measure A, adopted in November 2008. This tax is projected to generate $1 billion for local and regional transportation projects over thirty years. SBCAG is responsible for the annual allocation of more than $18 million to local agencies as well as the development and construction of fifteen state and regional projects identified in the Measure A plan at a total cost of more than $132 million.

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

SBCAG has been designated by the Governor as the agency responsible for all transportation planning and programming activities required under federal law. This includes the development of long range transportation plans and multi-year funding programs, and the selection and approval of transportation projects using federal funds.

Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies (SAFE)

This program is responsible for the installation, operation and administration of the system of approximately 350 roadside call boxes in Santa Barbara County. This system is financed by a $1 annual fee on all motor vehicles registered in the county.

Affiliate Census Center

SBCAG has been designated by the State Department of Finance to serve as the affiliate census center for Santa Barbara County. As such, SBCAG serves as the conduit for government and public access to census data.

Traffic Solutions

SBCAG also administers a county-wide Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program that promotes ridesharing, public transportation, biking, walking, telecommuting, and other transportation alternatives. Traffic Solutions also works directly with employers to assist in developing employee transportation programs.

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