The final version of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet budget includes $5.3 million for Barkley Regional Airport.

The Senate passed House Bill 241 Tuesday that, among other things, allocates the $5.3 million for Barkley Regional for the fiscal year 2023-24 from a capital construction bond pool that also includes $8 million for Mt. Sterling/Montgomery County Airport improvements and $7.7 million for Bardstown Nelson County Airport improvements.

Gov. Andy Beshear has 10 days to act on the bill.

“It stays in line with our obligations,” District 3 State Rep. Randy Bridges, R-Paducah, told The Sun, regarding the $5.3 million.

He added his appreciation for the joint effort put forth by fellow west Kentucky Republican lawmakers: District 1 State Rep. Steven Rudy, the House Republican Floor Leader, District 2 State Rep. Richard Heath, District 6 State Rep. Chris Freeland, and District 2 State Sen. Danny Carroll.

McCracken County Commissioner Bill Bartleman thanked Rudy in particular for his advocacy efforts.

“Rudy can be credited for listening to McCracken leaders and helping,” said Bartleman, who along with McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer and commissioners Eddie Jones and Jeff Parker, lobbied for the funding.

“This was a regional project.”

Dennis Rouleau, Barkley airport executive director, said if the funding is approved by the governor, funding restrictions — whether it applies to the terminal project or not — would be outlined by the Transportation Cabinet later.

Bartleman said the funding would free up $3 million in the county budget for other projects such as the Triple Rail Site or 911 system improvements.

In January, Beshear proposed to invest $6 million to go toward the airport’s new terminal project in his budget priorities, saying the funding would help the state keep its promise to have a “world class airport” at Barkley Regional.

Paducah Mayor George Bray said he preferred to wait until the governor acts on the funding measure to comment in detail, but also praised the cooperation between the legislators and city and county officials and leaders on behalf of the airport.

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