While Sen. Andrew Jones gave members of the Gadsden Kiwanis Club a review of the legislative session during their meeting Wednesday, he looked to the future, too.

Jones, R-Centre, talked to the club about a $2.1 billion Mobile bridge project — the topic of a recent op-ed he wrote. He said he believes the project may falter, and if it does, “I want us to be first in line to get funding for 759 and the Southside bridge.”

Jones said the Alabama Department of Transportation submitted five plans for the I-10 project in search of federal funding. One of those was a “no build” plan, he said.

The enormous cost of the project is equal to Alabama’s entire general fund budget for a year, Jones said.

“The notion that we can pay for that whole thing without any other help, from federal funding or tolling, is pie in the sky,” he said, noting that there’s been a lot of opposition to the idea of a toll attached to the bridge project.

Jones said from the hints he’s been getting, progress on the extension of 759 in East Gadsden could be a couple of years away.

A large, looming education question will come up far sooner. Jones reminded Kiwanis members that in March, voters will be asked to consider a constitutional amendment that would change Alabama’s state Board of Education from an elected board to one appointed by the governor, approved by the Senate.

Jones said whenever he talks to groups, he asks who can name their district board of education representative.

Not a single Kiwanis member in attendance could and Jones himself couldn’t recall the board member’s name.

For the record, it is Wayne Reynolds of Athens, elected this year, serving through 2023 (we had to Google it, too).

That’s a factor, Jones said, in his support for an appointed board. He said most voters know nothing about board candidates and the races draw little attention.

“You end up with a board that’s pulling in all directions,” he said.

Jones said the top 10 states in education have appointed boards, that can all pull in the same direction. He said Gov. Kay Ivey is on the board in Alabama, but isn’t able to put forth her plans for education.

Jones noted some especially beneficial bills, including the rural broadband bill that provides more grants for expansion of broadband internet service in rural areas and sets a required speed for connection.

“Broadband is the new electricity,” Jones said. “We got to make sure broadband service is in our rural areas so they don’t get left behind in this 21st century economy.”

Another piece of legislation reins in the latest technology by regulating vaping and e-cigarettes. Jones said lawmakers blocked sales of vaping devices of all kinds to minors, and around schools, daycares and youth centers, and mandated safeguards in advertising.