The Governor came to Pittsburgh this week bearing gifts from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) which is a capital budget that is for "the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, and historical improvement projects". Allegheny County will receive $38 million from the program this year for a green jobs center and a biologics center. We wrote a full length report on the RACP in 2003.
The state plans to spend $225 million from the RACP this year, which is slightly more than its capital expenditures on transportation assistance ($212 million) and bridge projects ($200 million) and far more than what it will spend on furniture ($25 million) and flood control ($35 million). RACP spending represents about 14% of all capital spending this coming fiscal year.
Not surprisingly, the state has used the RACP as a credit card, consistently raising the borrowing limit through the years. According to the state’s budget office the RACP began in 1986 with a $400 million cap on borrowing authority. That upper limit was increased five times starting in 1993 through 2002 to $1,450 million, a growth of $1,050 million, or 163% over 16 years.
The current Governor has signed legislation authorizing an extension of the RACP borrowing limit five times, including this past week, since 2003. Beginning with the $1,450 million level reached in 2002, the RACP borrowing limit today stands at $4,050 million, a growth of $2,600 or 179%. That percentage increase bests the growth rate from 1986 through 2002 and did so in half the time. Surely Pennsylvania will be rocketing to the top of the growth charts in no time.