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The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority's (SFRTA) Tri-Rail system in 2013 posted its highest annual ridership at 4,350,782 trips, the agency announced yesterday.Ridership surpassed the 4.3 million trips registered in 2008, when gas prices were at their highest point in the region, Tri-Rail officials said in a press release. Ridership in 2013 was the highest in the commuter railroad's 25-year history."As we prepare to celebrate our 25th anniversary this month, we are gratified to see how many people continue to embrace this system as their economical, reliable transportation alternative," said SFRTA Executive Director Joseph Giulietti. Tri-Rail began service on Jan. 9, 1989, as a temporary five-year traffic mitigation project while Interstate 95 was under construction. Since then, it evolved into the permanent north-south spine of South Florida's regional public transportation network, carrying about 70 million passengers, authority officials said.