Citizen Participation/Education and Intergovernmental Coordination - 1200
To help the public understand issues and processes that affects the regional transportation system in Merced County. To inform and report to residents throughout the county, along with other interested parties, of all the services and products that MCAG provides. To expand citizen participation in the planning process. To act as a liaison between government agencies and member entities, and bring that cooperative viewpoint to the public.
Residents are understandably concerned about transportation infrastructure. An informed public is the cornerstone of participatory government. By having current and correct information, residents can better participate in all parts of the decision making process.
Citizen participation is actively solicited. MCAG has a standing Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) made up of business, industry, and citizen-at-large members, which meets 12 times a year. They make recommendations to the Governing Board on all transportation related items. General citizens comments are gathered through public workshops, surveys at numerous events and through the MCAG website. The intent is to involve the general public including the traditionally underrepresented (i.e. Black, Hispanic, Asian American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Pacific Islander).
In view of current difficulties in securing adequate financing for needed projects, having a well-informed decision making process is critical. To achieve this, MCAG has a Technical Planning Commission (TPC), (composed of local public works and planning staff), and Technical Review Board (TRB), (composed of city managers and the county administrative officer) that make recommendations to the Governing Board every month in additional to the CAC’s recommendations.
MCAG’s public communications program consists of websites, press releases, public service announcements, speakers at local service clubs, schools, and civic organizations, and meetings at those same organizations, as well as public workshops, and an electronic newsletter. These communication mechanisms are used to provide information on current and future transportation planning issues. In 2008, MCAG contracted for televising services to place most of the MCAG Governing Board meetings on local cable channels and the Internet.