Tunnel planned for Bellevue's light rail line

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SEATTLE (AP) -- The Sound Transit board voted Thursday for a light rail route to Seattle's eastside that includes a tunnel under downtown Bellevue.

The deal calls for Bellevue to pay $160 million of the $300 million added cost for a tunnel.

If the Federal Transit Administration approves the route, construction on the East Link would start in four or five years. Passenger service should begin in 2022 or 2023.

Voters approved the East Link expansion of the Seattle-area light rail line in 2008. A light rail trip between downtown Seattle and downtown Bellevue is expected to take 20 minutes, compared to about 45 minutes via Interstate 90.