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Sound Transit ridership in the first quarter increased more than 8 percent to 7.5 million boardings compared with the same period a year ago, agency officials announced late last week.The increase marked the busiest Q1 ridership in agency history, according to a Sound Transit press release. The gain comes amid recent media reports noting Seattle as the nation's fastest-growing city."The demand for both buses and congestion-free light rail will keep growing. The good news is that Sound Transit remains on track to expand the region's light-rail system from 16 miles to 50 miles by 2023," said Sound Transit Chairman Dow Constantine.In the quarter, Central Link light-rail service registered 29,919 average weekday boardings, up 15 percent, and a total of 2.3 million boardings. Sounder commuter-rail service posted 11,843 average weekday boardings, up 5 percent, and 759,942 total boardings.In the coming months, Sound Transit's board plans to prepare for a projected 30 percent population growth in the region by 2040 by updating the region's long-range plan. Updating the plan will set the stage for considering where light rail and other regional transit services should expand after current voter-approved projects are complete, agency officials said.