State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

RCAP grants begin rollout, and Wolf says he's trying to boost oversight

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 24, 2018 4:15 AM

Wolf says he's aiming for more oversight of the highly political RCAP grant program. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- The Wolf administration has released the year's first slew of Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program--or RCAP--grants.

The program allocates highly-competitive pots of money for regional projects.

These projects can be political boons for lawmakers in the districts that snag some of the cash. But ever since it began in the '80s, RCAP has intermittently caught flack  for disproportionately funding projects in major cities.

A study on the allocations through 2014 found 40 percent of the money had gone to Allegheny and Philadelphia counties, though they only have 20 percent of the state's population.

Governor Tom Wolf's Spokesman JJ Abbott acknowledged, there have historically been some issues.

"The program was kind of scattered," he said. "It went year-to-year not necessarily in a way that was strategic. The governor wants to make sure we're using every dollar here in a way that has the most benefit."

Abbott said they're doing that by working more closely with the Department of Community and Economic Development.

"Having them involved in the process provides more engagement directly with their experts in local communities across Pennsylvania, and it provides for a better level of local input," he said.

So far, about $44 million in grants have been doled out this year.

The biggest one is $6 million for a proposed robotic design and production facility in York.

Others include $2.5 million to restore a building in Altoona, and $3 million dollars to overhaul UPMC Ballpark in Erie.

The money doesn't go to its recipients right away--the state reimburses it once a project is finished.

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