The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), originally called the National Service to Regional Councils (NSRC), was created in 1965 by the National League of Cities and the National Association of Counties to respond to the professional and legislative needs of America’s emerging, multi-purpose, multi-jurisdictional organizations of local governments.

The name National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) was adopted in 1967.  By that point, more than 350 regional councils in the country were working at the forefront of forging regional alliances for the purpose of addressing common, multi-jurisdictional challenges.

Today, regional councils have retained their identity but their role has changed dramatically. Of the more than 500 regional councils throughout the country, a majority now function as Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Some MPOs are extensions of Regional Councils, and slightly more than half are stand-alone organizations responsible for fulfilling federal and state metropolitan transportation planning requirements.

The functions of regional councils continue to be shaped by changing dynamics in federal, state and local government relations. Through these changes, regions remain the primary arena in which local governments can work collaboratively to address common challenges – social, economic, workforce, transportation, emergency preparedness, environmental and more.