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The State of California contains 26 rural counties, which generally have populations of less than 250,000 and do not have a single urbanized area greater than 50,000. Rural counties provide food, fiber, timber, and mineral products for California industry and residents, as well as recreation for urban residents and tourists. In order to provide a direct opportunity for the small counties to remain informed, have a voice, and become involved with changing statewide transportation policies and programs, a task force was formed in 1988 as a joint effort between the California Transportation Commission (CTC) and the rural counties.

There are 26 rural county Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs) or Local Transportation Commissions represented on the Rural Counties Task Force (RCTF). The RCTF is an informal organization with no budget or staff that generally meets every other month. A member of the CTC usually acts as liaison to the RCTF, and CTC and Caltrans staff typically attend these meetings to explain and discuss changing statewide transportation issues that may be of concern to the rural counties.