Graphic of the state of Michigan with subset close up of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties

Who We Are

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission is a public planning agency established in 1956, serving Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties in Mid-Michigan. Tri-County makes our region a more prosperous community by planning for a strong economy, reliable transportation, and sustainable infrastructure and natural resources.


We are dedicated leaders and innovators, connecting local organizations and governments to funding, technical assistance, data resources, and opportunities to discuss trends and challenges affecting the Greater Lansing area.

Our Mission & Vision

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission leads innovative public planning for Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties to foster prosperity in Mid-Michigan's communities.

We believe in developing a sustainable future for our region's economy, natural resources, and transportation system and infrastructure.


Tri-County is directed by a board of 19 commissioners representing the three counties, City of Lansing, and public transportation agencies. They come together to resolve problems and guide development of the Greater Lansing area with a regional perspective, looking past county and municipal boundaries for the greatest good of our region’s citizens.

History & Designations

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission was formed under the Regional Planning Act, PA 281 of 1945. It was established pursuant to resolutions adopted by the Boards of Supervisors of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties on July 18, 1956. Membership was expanded to include the City of Lansing in 1974. Tri-County serves 75 jurisdictions within the three-county region.

Tri-County is designated as the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to coordinate federally funded transportation projects. The Commission is also certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce as the Economic Development District (EDD) to facilitate federally funded economic development programs and initiatives, particularly in public infrastructure, in support of business locations and expansions. Learn more about our federal and state designations and legal responsibilities below.

What is an Economic Development District?

Economic Development Districts (EDDs) are multi-jurisdictional entities, commonly composed of multiple counties and in certain cases, cross-state borders. They help lead the locally based, regionally driven economic development planning process that leverages the involvement of the public, private, and non-profit sectors to establish a strategic blueprint (known as a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy) for regional collaboration. Since 1986, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission has been an EDD, as designated by the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). This designation allows Tri-County to receive planning grant dollars from the EDA and provides every municipality within the three-county region eligibility for the EDA's different investment programs. These programs include:

  • Public Works and Economic Development
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA)
  • Research and National Technical Assistance
  • Local Technical Assistance
  • Planning Program
  • University Center Economic Development
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms

What is a Regional Planning Commission?

Regional planning commissions have been around in some parts of the country since near the start of the last century. State Planning & Development Regions (SPDRs) look at planning issues from a larger geography than that examined by counties or local units of government in the region. That allows them to identify issues and opportunities that are not apparent at a smaller geography. They also can help local governments resolve issues of overlapping services, help fill gaps in services through service sharing arrangements, and help find resources from the federal and state governments to address unmet needs. Over the past 65 years the Michigan Legislature has created three separate, but different statutory approaches to addressing regional planning through voluntary sub-state units of government known variously as state planning and development regions, regional planning commissions, regional planning and development commissions, and councils of government.
These acts are:

  • Regional Planning Act, PA 281 of 1945
  • The regional planning portion of the County or Regional Economic Development Commission Act, PA 46 of 1966
  • The regional planning portion of Metropolitan Councils Act, PA 292 of 1989
SPDRs are voluntary organizations comprised of local governments dedicated to serving the regional planning needs of multi-county areas in all parts of Michigan. They are a form of local government voluntarily created by their members, which are largely representative of local governments in the region; although membership also includes road authorities, nonprofit organizations and representatives of the business community in many regions.

What is a Regional Clearinghouse & Intergovernmental Review?

As of July 1, 2018, the State of Michigan and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, acting on behalf of the State as the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for regional coordination, no longer participate in the clearinghouse review process for federal grants. Therefore, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission no longer reviews proposed projects subject to Executive Order 12372 of 1982 requesting federal funds. As a local government organization engaged in promoting intergovernmental coordination, we encourage applicants for federal financial assistance to coordinate with other governments and organizations impacted by their work. We continue to maintain a regional inventory of land use and master plans for better coordination and collaboration across jurisdictional boundary lines. For more information on the Michigan Federal Project Review System and Regional Clearinghouse process, visit semcog.org/Clearinghouse-Review.

What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization?

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission was designated by the Governor as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in 1973, responsible for fulfilling all federally required transportation planning requirements in the Lansing-East Lansing Metropolitan area throughout Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties in the state of Michigan. Federal funding for transportation projects throughout the three counties are channeled through Tri-County. MPOs are policy-making and planning bodies formed under federal legislation (23 USC 134 & 49 USC 1603, 1605, and 1607). Specifically, an MPO is the policy board of an organization created and designated to carry out the metropolitan transportation planning process. They are required to represent localities in all urbanized areas (UZAs) with populations over 50,000, as determined by the U.S. Census, to ensure federal spending on transportation planning projects and programs are based on a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive (3-C) planning process. An urbanized area with a population over 200,000, as defined by the Bureau of the Census and designated by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), is called a Transportation Management Area (TMA). As described in 49 U.S.C. 5303(k), and in recognition of the greater complexity of transportation issues in large urban areas, an MPO in a TMA has a stronger voice in setting priorities for implementing projects listed in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and is responsible for additional planning products. The planning processes in MPOs in TMAs also must be certified by the Secretary of DOT as being in compliance with federal requirements. MPOs are designated by agreement between the governor and local governments that together represent at least 75 percent of the affected population (including the largest incorporated city, based on population) or in accordance with procedures established by applicable state or local law. When submitting a TIP to the state for inclusion in the statewide program, MPOs self-certify that they have met all federal requirements. In accordance with federal regulations, Tri-County is required to carry out metropolitan transportation planning in cooperation with the state and operators of publicly owned transit services. View MPO policies and procedures that address these regulations and requirements here. 66.37% of Michigan’s population are represented by MPOs; nationally, 85% of the population lives inside a MPO.

What is Public Planning?

Public planning is just that - planning for our region's future needs and making a plan to tackle them. It aims to optimize the effectiveness of how our community uses land and develops infrastructure to improve the connectivity, quality of life, safety, economic success, and sustainability of our communities. Public planning looks at the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, and the infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas, particularly transportation networks. We formulate plans for the development and management of the region's urban, suburban, and rural areas, analyzing land use compatability and economic, environmental, travel demand, and social trends. These plans provide guidance for elected officials, planners, and local units of government to make informed decisions about how to best use our communities' land, maintain our infrastructure, and responsibility utilize our resources and assets.