My gut says that, if either happens, they probably both will, and probably within a few years of each other. Maybe there's a virtuous cycle where all of a sudden Rochester is the biggest region in the state without a transit option; where the #1, #2, and #4 MSAs in the state are connected; and various regions feel they need to push for service so as to be, quite literally, on the map.I honestly think connecting Northstar to St. Cloud as a commuter line would be a better example to show, but looks like NLE is closer to actually happening.
My gut also says neither project will happen as long as the GOP controls any single branch of government, and even then I don't see Walz as a particularly strong ally on this point. But I'd be happy to be proven wrong!