Meeting of the Minds Speaker

James Corless

Chief Executive Officer

Sacramento Area Council of Governments

James Corless is the chief executive officer for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

He was previously the founding director of Transportation for America, a bipartisan alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country that worked together to ensure states and the federal government invest in smart, locally-driven transportation solutions. While at Transportation for America, Mr. Corless worked with regions across the U.S. to develop and implement transportation performance measures that improve health, increase access to opportunity for vulnerable populations, protect the environment and promote economic prosperity. Mr. Corless created Transportation for America’s nationally-recognized transportation leadership academies as well as the Smart Cities Collaborative to help local governments prepare for rapid changes in transportation technologies while ensuring that local ridesharing and bike sharing projects include and engage disadvantaged communities. His commitment to inclusive and thoughtful transportation investment that address equity has resulted in numerous successes around the country including leading on creative placemaking in disadvantaged communities, integrating health and regional planning, place-based planning the better connects jobs, housing and amenities, and performance-based planning.

Mr. Corless has come full circle with his return to California. Before Transportation for America he was a senior planner for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in the San Francisco Bay Area. At MTC, he developed and managed the agency’s grant programs that promote jobs, retail, and mixed-income residential construction along public transit corridors and target investments in low-income communities.