One of the bigger fights in the Alabama Legislature this session was over an appropriation for the proposed Maxwell Gateway project, which includes some aesthetic elements welcoming visitors to Montgomery and a water park.

Initially, $25 million was appropriated from the education budget under Gov. Kay Ivey's proposal for that project. However, proponents of the expenditure had to settle with $5 million from the general fund budget.

Among the proponents was State Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road), who represents the area known as the River Region, where the park is located.

Although Barfoot acknowledged the issues with funding for such a project from money destined for education, he said he detected a trend of money from the education supplemental budget going heavily to projects in the northern portion of the state.

"If you start looking at a map, and you know, evidently — and I haven't put pen to paper on it — but about 84% of all the education supplemental budget went Birmingham-north," he said during an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show." "I mean, that's a sizeable percentage of that $2.8 billion that went Birmingham-north. That came back to us, and we ultimately concurred on that."

The Montgomery County lawmaker said there was such a controversy because of the high-dollar amount available in the $2.8 billion education supplemental budget.

However, he said he was not sure if this was a trend lawmakers would have to grapple with in the future.

"I don't know that this is going to be an ongoing battle or geographic battle," Barfoot said. "I certainly hope it is not. We need to work as a whole Senate, House, legislative body — make sure all of the needs are met and some of the wants. But I do think it was more difficult this time because of the amount of money that was available."

Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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