Passing The Torch

Now that Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton is retiring, you might think that John Thune’s DM&E project would have smoother sailing, but you would be wrong. Minnesota’s other Senator is taking over where Dayton left off.

WASHINGTON – Sen. Norm Coleman said Thursday that he will oppose an expansion plan by the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad unless the Department of Transportation comes up with a plan to address the concerns of the Mayo Clinic.

“I need to soon see a mitigation plan,” Coleman, R-Minn., said in a conference call with reporters. “If there isn’t a plan, then I’ll do everything in my prerogatives as senator to stop this project, either through the appropriation process or the legislation process.”

Coleman said he wants to see a plan by the end of the year.

On a related note South Dakota’s esteemed Senator, John Thune, who is leading the effort for the DM&E expansion project has been awarded the “Porker of the Month” award by Citizens Against Government Waste.

Washington, D.C. Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) Porker of the Month for helping to secure a record $2.3 billion federal loan for a railroad company.

The loan guarantee from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) would allow the Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern Railroad (DM&E) to expand and improve a rail line that is used primarily to transport coal from Wyoming to Minnesota. In apparent anticipation of the loan, Sen. Thune was instrumental in increasing the FRA’s loan guarantee authority from $3.5 billion to $35 billion in the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act. DM&E paid Thune $220,000 in 2003 and 2004 to lobby for the loan before his election to the Senate.

Somehow I don’t think Senator Thune will be at the awards ceremony to pick up this “honor“.

(h/t – CCK)

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