The college campus project that Carroll County officials and leaders have been attempting to secure for the last two decades remained in the budget passed by Kentucky legislators Monday.

Kentucky Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford, and other local officials announced the $16-million Jefferson Community & Technical College Carrollton campus project received support from the General Assembly and stayed in the state's biennial budget, which will go into effect July 1.

The budget still needs Gov. Steve Beshear's approval and signature, but Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold "Shorty" Tomlinson doesn't anticipate that to be a problem.

Earlier this year, Beshear outlined a plan to invest in the Kentucky Community & Technical College System's capital projects for the first time in three budget periods during a budget address.

The budget calls for bond issues to cover up to 75 percent of the project, while the additional 25 percent would come from local communities or other public and private sources.

Rand, chair of the House of Representatives' Appropriations and Revenue Committee, said he made the college campus project his priority during the current budget process.

"It will mean so much for our students and area industry once it is up and running," Rand said. "I've been proud to work with so many people to get this done and look forward to the day we can break ground."

Discussions for the new college campus in Carrollton began during the 1980s. The project had been brought before the Kentucky General Assembly in the late 2000s before being vetoed near the end of the budget session.

This year was the first time funding for new capital projects within the Kentucky Community & Technical College System had been approved in the last six years.

College and local officials unveiled plans in January for the new $16.3 million Jefferson Community & Technical College campus.

The proposed 50,000-square-foot building would more than double the current space of the college building on Main Street. The new campus would provide educational opportunities to the much of the region and the area industry workforce.

"It's been a long 23 years since we started this," Carrollton Education Foundation Chairman Dennis Goff said in a statement. "The new location, on about 30 acres across from General Butler State Resort Park, is perfect for our needs. We really have outgrown our current site in the renovated department store building we use now."

Many state legislators and local leaders gave their support to the project since the current college campus serves students from Carroll, Trimble, Gallatin, Henry, Oldham and Owen counties.

A lot of work will need to be done before breaking ground on the new campus, Tomlinson said.

First, officials wait for the governor's signature. Then, local officials wait for the budget to go into effect in July.

"Between now and then, we can be working on fundraising," Tomlinson said.

Local officials also will need to secure about $4 million for the project before moving forward.

Other work - like transportation surveys for the driveway location and upgraded technology service to the property near KY 227 - might be completed over the next few months.

"There's a lot of things we can work on during that process," Tomlinson said. "We're excited about it, and we look forward to raising needed funds."