East Central Intergovernmental Association

A regional response to local needs

7600 Commerce Park
Dubuque, IA 52002
800-942-4648 (Iowa Only)


About Us - History

The East Central Intergovernmental Association is a council of governments, formed in 1974 with the goal of developing regional solutions for local governments facing similar problems. ECIA is an evolving organization, continuously creating new programs and initiatives through responding to the needs of our member governments.

The original program ECIA managed was the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (DMATS), managing the transportation planning and acting as the liaison with state and federal agencies related to transportation priorities in the region.  In 1983, the Regional Planning Affiliation (RPA) was created to address the transportation planning needs in the rural areas of the ECIA region outside of the Dubuque metropolitan area. 


Throughout the years, ECIA has created organizations and non-profits that are managed by ECIA staff and address the needs of the region including the Eastern Iowa Regional Housing Authority (EIRHA) in 1978 and the ECIA Business Growth, Inc. in 1983.  EIRHA is a housing authority providing housing solutions for cities/ counties and their citizens in a seven-county region. EIRHA provides rental assistance and housing solutions for over 1200 households.  Business Growth, Inc. is a Certified Development Company providing loans to businesses expanding and creating or retaining jobs.  Both entities have grown and evolved throughout the years adding to their programs and services responding to the demands of our local governments and their citizens.


In the late 1980’s ECIA developed the Eastern Iowa Regional Housing Corporation for the purpose of developing and owning USDA senior housing and developing and owning Low Income Housing Tax Credit sites in Asbury and Peosta.  In 2015, ECIA developed the East Central Development Corporation (ECDC) to improve the public welfare and expand opportunities in the region.  ECDC has focused its energy on meeting the homeownership housing opportunities in the region.

In 2005, ECIA began managing the Region 8 Regional Transit Authority (RTA) providing transit services for the three-county region of Dubuque, Delaware and Jackson Counites.  The RTA is a non-profit transit agency providing rides to the general public and through service contracts.  The RTA provides over 110,000 rides annually in the region. 


In 2006, ECIA created the Eastern Iowa Regional Utility Service System (EIRUSS) as a 28E organization under the Code of Iowa to plan, design, develop, finance, construct, own, operate and maintain essential facilities and services including, but not limited to, wastewater treatment systems and water systems for and on behalf of the counties and the cities in the region.  The first system became operational in 2008 in Center Junction.


In 2016, ECIA assumed management of the Special Needs Assistance Program for the City of Dubuque providing housing and counseling services for the most vulnerable homeless population in the City of Dubuque. As the homeless housing needs grew, in 2019, ECIA developed Community Solutions of Eastern Iowa (CSEI) to manage and oversee the homeless programing for Dubuque and Delaware Counties.  ECIA provides the staff for CSEI.  The focus is on safe and affordable housing first and then provides supports to maintain housing followed by increased opportunities for better health, integration into the community, access to benefits and services, and economic stability. 


In addition to the various entities that ECIA has created to address the needs of the region, ECIA has evolved with its various programs and services.  Services including, fundraising for non-profits and community projects; grant writing for non-profits, cities and counties; strategic planning services; administering HUD Lead programs and Brownfields programming; and finally, most recently in 2019, ECIA launched a nuisance abatement program, to assist communities address their citizen’s nuisance properties.  In most communities, the Clerk and Mayor do not have adequate time to address the nuisance properties in their community.  ECIA provides the staff support to conduct nuisance abatement activities in the region.