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Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG)

Metropolitan Planning Organization Profile


The Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) was organized in 1968 for the purpose of regional collaboration and problem solving.  AMBAG is a joint powers authority governed by a 24-member board of directors, comprised of elected officials from each city and county within the region.

AMBAG serves as the federally designated metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.  As the MPO, AMBAG performs metropolitan level transportation planning on behalf of the tri-county region.  Among its many duties, AMBAG manages the region’s transportation demand model and prepares regional housing, population and employment forecast that are used in a variety of regional plans.

Members: Counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz; Cities of Capitola, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Del Rey Oaks, Gonzales, Greenfield, Hollister, King City, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Salinas, San Juan Bautista, Sand City, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Seaside, Soledad and Watsonville

Transportation and SB 375

Metropolitan Transportation Plan

The metropolitan transportation plan (MTP) is the federally mandated long-range transportation plan for the Monterey Bay Area. This plan lays out a financially constrained list of transportation projects over the following 25 years that will enhance regional mobility as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most recently adopted in 2010, AMBAG will adopt a new metropolitan transportation plan that incorporates the requirements of Senate Bill 375 in June of 2014.

Sustainable Communities Strategy

AMABG is currently working on Moving Forward Monterey Bay, the updated metropolitan transportation plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS).  Under SB 375, the SCS must identify a regional development pattern and transportation system that can meet the regional greenhouse gas reduction targets (zero percent increase by 2020 and a five percent reduction per capita by 2035) from the automobile and light truck sectors.

AMBAG is working with the three county regional transportation planning agencies (San Benito County Council of Governments, Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission and Transportation Agency for Monterey County), local governments, key stakeholders and the public to develop and evaluate a set of SCS alternative transportation and land use scenarios.

Public Participation Plan

The public participation plan provides guidance in the structuring of regional transportation planning processes to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, interagency consultation and public participation are an integral and continuing part of the regional transportation decision making process. The participation policies and procedures described in the plan are structured to comply with all applicable federal and state legislation, rules, and express the genuine regional value and interest for all residents to participate in the shaping and implementation of regional policies and decisions regarding the transportation system.  AMBAG adopted its most recent public participation plan in April 2011.


As the council of governments for Santa Cruz County and Monterey County, AMBAG holds responsibility for one of the two regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) for the region. The San Benito Council of Governments issues the RHNA determination for San Benito County and cities within the county. 

Senate Bill 375 sets forth new consistency requirements between transportation planning processes and housing planning processes. More specifically, the RHNA and the SCS development pattern must be consistent. For the Monterey Bay Area, these requirements necessitate extensive coordination between three regional transportation planning agencies, two major transit agencies, 21 local jurisdictions, two councils of government and AMBAG. 

Local housing elements are required to be adopted within 18 months of the MTP, which contains the SCS. To successfully meet these new consistency requirements, the region will adopt an MTP every four years (instead of every five years), while the RHNA and Housing Elements will be adopted every eight years (instead of every five years).

Other Programs and Projects

Envisioning the Monterey Bay Area: A Blueprint for Sustainable Growth and Smart Infrastructure

In 2011, AMBAG completed a regional vision plan entitled Envisioning the Monterey Bay Area: A Blueprint for Sustainable Growth and Smart Infrastructure, commonly referred to as “The Blueprint.” The Blueprint presents a vision for how the region might start to achieve the greenhouse gas targets issued by the California Air Resources Board, through what is called the “Sustainable Growth Patterns” scenario.  However, it falls short of the greenhouse gas targets set for the Monterey Bay Area.

Energy Watch

The Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) partner to deliver the AMBAG Energy Watch Program, a regional leader in energy efficiency in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.


Moving Forward Monterey Bay 2035
Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG)
Moving Forward Monterey Bay 2035-en espanol
Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG)
Source: ABAG Monterey Bay Moving Forward Videos


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