TRENTON - An audit of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority released by the state Comptroller's Office yesterday found that millions of dollars were wasted through the recession.

Auditors say the New Jersey Turnpike Authority paid its employees $30 million in unjustified bonuses and squandered millions on health insurance.

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

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 authority says it will review its policies for sick time, vacation payouts and bonuses. In addition, it says it will end free E-ZPasses for employees who commute to work.

State Comptroller's Office report on the NJ Turnpike Authority State Comptroller's Office audit of the NJ Turnpike Authority