The New York State Association of Regional Councils (NYSARC) is composed of regional councils throughtout New York State. These councils represent 45 of the 62 counties in New York.

Articles 12-B and 5-G of the New York State General Municipal Law gave affiliated municipalities the legal authority to create regional or metropolitan planning boards and joint-purpose municipal corporations.

New York's regional councils provide comprehensive planning for the coordinated growth and development of their regions. This responsibility involves marketing the region, and providing services such as economic development, land-use, transportation, environment and water resources management, human resources management, and regional data services. Many of the State's regional councils also offer technical assistance to communities within the region, including grant application and coordination, financial expertise, and information services.

The members of NYSARC play a unique role in the State. By presenting a regional perspective on issues, regional councils promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitate dialogue between state and federal governments and smaller municipalities.

Accordingly, the NYSARC has developed an ongoing working relationship with a variety of state agencies to deliver state-funded programming on a regional basis.

In addition, New York State's Regional Councils are designated by the US Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) as administrators of the State's Economic Development Districts (made up of the counties that each Regional Council serves). A key function of each Regional Council's role as an Economic Development administrator is to create and maintain a comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), and manage the EDA-funded economic development projects in their respective regions.