The Whatcom Council of Governments (WCOG) provides a variety of services and administers programs that contribute to the outstanding quality of life which the more than 220,000 residents of Whatcom County have come to expect. Established in 1966 pursuant to Chapter 36.64.080 of the Revised Code of Washington, WCOG provides a forum through which mutual cooperation is facilitated among its members, which include the County’s seven cities, Whatcom County Government, the Port of Bellingham and other regional entities. Like most other councils of governments throughout Washington and the United States, WCOG has neither taxing authority nor the ability to regulate land use.
In 1982, Governor John Spellman designated WCOG to serve as the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the federally-recognized transportation policy board for the Bellingham Urbanized Area. With the passage of the Washington State Growth Management Act in 1990, WCOG was also designated as the Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) for all of Whatcom County. The MPO and RTPO are governed by a joint Transportation Policy Board which ensures that the region meets its obligations under the Growth Management Act as well as the transportation planning requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.
Other important WCOG activities include the International Mobility and Trade Corridor Program, which facilitates improved transportation and commerce in the Cascade Gateway region of Washington State and British Columbia; staffing and convening the Citizens’ Transportation Advisory Group, which provides the perspective of private citizens in the regional transportation policymaking process; operating the Whatcom Smart Trips and Safe Routes to School programs; and serving as administrator and fiscal agent for the Northwest Economic Council.
The Whatcom Council of Governments proudly serves and works with the following jurisdictions and organizations:
- City of Bellingham
- City of Blaine
- City of Everson
- City of Ferndale
- City of Lynden
- City of Nooksack
- City of Sumas
- Whatcom County
- Port of Bellingham
- Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District
- Lummi Nation
- Nooksack Tribe
- Whatcom Transportation Authority
- The Opportunity Council
- Sudden Valley Community Association
- Western Washington University