February 27, 2007

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: This is a pretty substantial victory:

The Federal Railroad Administration is denying a $2.3 billion loan to the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad, Rep. Tim Walz announced Monday in Rochester.

The denial, by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Credit Council, was on grounds of creditworthiness. Walz learned of the denial Monday afternoon in a telephone conversation with DOT Secretary Mary Peters.

“This is a victory for good government and accountability,” Walz said. “The citizens of this district demanded close scrutiny of this loan, and they got it.”

The decision outright ends the DM&E’s loan request. There is no appeal process, Walz said.

The railroad sought the loan to finance a $6 billion construction project. DM&E wants to upgrade its entire, 600-mile line through Minnesota and South Dakota, and extend it west to coal fields in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. DM&E would haul coal from there to eastern markets.

More like this, please.

UPDATE: Here’s some background on the deal — and John Thune’s championing there of — for those who haven’t been following it.