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Sound Transit and Seattle officials will host an open house on Thursday to gather public input on eight potential routes as part of the Ballard-to-downtown high-capacity transit study, which will help update the city's transit master plan and Sound Transit's long-range plan.Based on public feedback collected from an earlier open house and online tools, agency and city officials narrowed the alternatives to the eight potential routes for light rail or streetcars, Sound Transit officials said in a press release.The alternatives include tunnels under the ship canal and Queen Anne, at-grade routes using the Fremont Bridge and elevated routes crossing the ship canal on new bridges. Preliminary cost estimates range from $500 million to $3 billion."Every step of this process gets us closer to connecting neighborhoods with fast, reliable rail service," said Sound Transit board member and Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin.Construction of any future transit extensions would be subject to Sound Transit and city policy decisions, and the identification of funding sources. Voter approval would be required for potential Sound Transit investments.The study's next phase will incorporate public feedback, current and future housing trends, employment and land-use factors to help further develop ridership and cost estimates, Sound Transit officials said. The work is scheduled for completion in early 2014.
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