TRENTON, NJ (AP?WCBS 880) – Auditors say the New Jersey Turnpike Authority paid its employees $30 million in unjustified bonuses and squandered millions on health insurance while tolls increased.

The Comptroller’s Office audit released Tuesday says taxpayers also picked up the tab for free E-ZPass transponders, scholarships for workers’ kids and an employee bowling league.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot talks with NJ State Comptroller Matt Boxer about what the audit found

The audit shows turnpike authority employees got bonuses and overtime for working their birthdays and holidays. Some were paid extra for removing snow.

In all, the audit found $43 million in wasteful spending in 2008 and 2009.

Comptroller Matt Boxer says the excesses happened as tolls increased on the Turnpike and Garden State Parkway in 2008. They’re slated to rise again in 2012.

The Turnpike Authority could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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