Share This Page

Legislature adds limits on borrowing for development projects in Pennsylvania

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:09 p.m.

HARRISBURG — A bill cutting the amount of money Pennsylvania can borrow for economic development projects and restricting how the program operates was passed by state lawmakers on Wednesday.

The House and Senate voted unanimously to cut $600 million from the $4.05 billion upper limit on borrowing for the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett said he would sign it.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Clearfield, said the changes were meant to make the process by which projects are chosen more transparent, including public comment requirements.

“We are ensuring that we can pass a more financially secure commonwealth on to our children and grandchildren,” he said on the House floor.

Corbett press secretary Jay Pagni said many of the procedural changes were adopted by the administration last year.

Each year, lawmakers typically pass a wish list of projects, but it's up to the governor to decide which ones to fund. The bill limits the viability of projects to 10 years after legislative approval.

“We overhauled the RCAP system to make it more metric-based,” Pagni said. “We took politics out of the process. Priorities were placed on job growth and economic impact, as well as the ‘shovel-readiness' of the project.”

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai says this is the first time the borrowing limit has been reduced since RCAP began in 1999. It was $1.2 billion that year, and it increased on five occasions under Gov. Ed Rendell.

About 8,000 projects have been listed in the nine itemization bills that have been passed in the past 14 years. A bill with a new list of projects is expected to be considered by a legislative committee next week, Turzai said.

Pagni said the administration expects to authorize $125 million in new projects this year.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.