Christie allies got promotions, raises at troubled NJ transit agency: report

New Jersey Transit, the agency that operates state-run bus and rail lines, reportedly promoted 10 employees connected to Gov. Chris Christie‘s administration -- and even gave raises to some as the agency struggled to fund its operations.

After reviewing months of legislative testimony, court documents and state employee salary data, and the Record of Bergen County, N.J., found that the 10 jobs all came with raises between $13,000 and $70,000.

The positions ranged from the agency’s chief of staff to those in charge of planning and procurement and disaster resilience projects.

According to the report, all but one of those promoted wound up making more than $100,000. The median salary for a state employee in 2016 was $72,953, the state Civil Service Commission said in its annual report.

The agency denies that any Christie allies were given special treatment over other state employees.

The report came as Christie -- a two-term Republican who leaves office Jan. 16 because of term limits -- has faced serious backlash after it became clear following the "Bridgegate" scandal that Christie loyalists were hired at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, allowing the administration to influence that agency's operations.

In "Bridgegate," two members of Christie's administration were convicted in relation to traffic problems near the George Washington Bridge, reportedly caused to punish a local mayor who declined to back Christie's 2013 re-election campaign.

The reported promotions and raises parallel a period of chaos for New Jersey Transit that has included frequent canceled and delayed trains and buses, broken-down equipment and a September 2016 crash at a train terminal in Hoboken that left one woman dead and 100 other people injured.

Earlier this month came reports that the transit agency spent $4.4 million on office space in Newark that was vacant for most of the two-year lease.

Meanwhile, the agency said earlier this month that it would add a fee to rail fares to help finance New Jersey's $1.9 billion share of the cost of an $11.1 billion rail tunnel, with New York state and the federal government also contributing, Bloomberg reported.

Phil Murphy, a Democrat and former Goldman Sachs banker, will succeed Christie as governor following his election in November. Murphy had made fixing the transit agency's flaws one of the themes of his campaign.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.