AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Transit Partnership received nearly 6,000 community feedback comments on five light rail design options up for consideration since debuting them in late March.

The five initial investment proposals were first presented at a community open house March 21. ATP collected feedback on the design considerations through Tuesday, with the entity expected to release its final design recommendation in the coming weeks.

At Project Connect’s community advisory committee meeting Thursday, staff said they received a wide range of feedback from the public. An initial review of the comments shows strong support for light rail but variations on preferences for individual designs, as well as questions surrounding costs, grade level, route scope and future extension opportunities.

Project Connect leaders will release an analysis report comprising community input by May 16. That report will include a more detailed analysis of some of the demographic characteristics behind people who favor each specific design consideration to help inform which communities are being included in the conversation.

Project Connect’s community advisory committee is expected to deliver its recommendation to project staff next week at its May 11 meeting. On Thursday, committee members gave initial feedback and thoughts they had surrounding the proposals.

Some of those initial stances included preferences for at-grade, street-level design options as opposed to underground and elevated portions. This, members said, would enhance accessibility in the design for people with various mobility levels and would also cost less, maximizing the project’s initial investment in its route and scope.

Only one of the initial investment options showed an early route directly to the airport. Many committee members agreed they didn’t think an initial connection to the airport was critical, given there are many rideshare and transport services already in place and alternative proposals featured higher ridership figures.

While connecting destinations is important, they said they want to prioritize enhancing mobility for more people, particularly those with fewer transit options already.

As project staff evaluate public feedback, they said the version with the “most support” won’t be selected for the final design. Instead, they’re categorizing feedback into themes and demographic data that staff can then use to pair with each option’s estimated budget, ridership, future buildout opportunities and other elements.