Cole confident in Amtrak’s future

By Gus Bode

Obama assures mayor of future federal funding

After meeting with U.S. Senator Barack Obama in Washington Tuesday, Mayor Brad Cole said he believes it is likely that Amtrak will continue to receive federal funding.

At the city council meeting Tuesday evening, Cole discussed his brief trip to Washington, where he lobbied for funding for Amtrak and for the passage of the Clear Skies Act. Cole said Obama assured him that there is a great possibility that Amtrak will continue to receive government funding.


“It does seem like there will be some type of resolution to the funding issue,” Cole said. “I’m confident that they will continue to receive funding.”

Cole said he wanted to support the Clear Skies Act because he believes it would help out the coal industry in Illinois by establishing clear standards for pollution control. Cole said Obama, who may be the potential swing vote on the federal committee that will pass or deny the bill, took no clear stance on whether he would support the legislation.

“He was non-committal,” Cole said. “He was understanding of both sides, but he didn’t commit to either.”

Also at the meeting, Councilman Steve Haynes accepted an award on behalf of his mother, Donna, for her service to the city of Carbondale. Donna Haynes could not be at the meeting because she was in Salem, Ill., watching her grandson, Steve Haynes Jr. play in a regional basketball game for Carbondale Community High School. Councilman Haynes said he would have rather gone to watch his son play, but he flipped a coin with his mother and she won.

Haynes accepted an award on his mother’s behalf, and spent the rest of the night listening to the game on a portable radio. Donna Haynes retired in 2004 after 29 years working for the city at the Eurma C. Hayes childcare center. City Council candidate Don Barrett was also recognized at the meeting for more than 26 years of service to the Carbondale Police department.

The council also voted to support the nomination of the Tuscan Lodge building at the corner of Jackson and Washington Streets for the 2005 Illinois Ten Most Endangered Historic Places List. The building will be recognized and officially added to the list during a ceremony on March 9 in Springfield. The building will join the Buckminster Fuller Dome, located at 407 S. Forest St., which was added to the list last year.

No money to help preserve the building will come from it being added to the list, but Councilwoman Maggie Flanagan said she is hopeful funding will come from a different source because of the recognition.


“It’s a significant building,” Flanagan said. “It would be wonderful if we could get that done.”

Reporter William Ford can be reached at