Despite their optimistic tune that we reported here, the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad isn’t chugging along quite so merrily after the federal government put the smack down on their loan request. The largest government loan ever – $2.3 billion – got a hearty “heck no” from the Federal Railroad Administration. As reported in a Washington Post article today, the administration cited “financial factors” for the denial, but others suspect that opponents to the railway’s expansion project might have had more to with it. The opponents, led by the Mayo Clinic, lobbied with gusto on the charge that Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a key proponent of the loan, was a former lobbyist for the railway. Will someone please play Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” now?