BOSTON (AP) – Executives at the cash-strapped MBTA are getting a 9 percent raise.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority General Manager Daniel Grabauskas is defending the raises, saying they match a salary increase given union employees.

Under the plan, 240 executive employees – who make an average of $83,650 a year – would receive the increase.

The announcement came just a week after Grabauskas warned that a financial crisis at the transit agency could force a significant fare hike by 2010.

Grabauskas issued the warning as he asked the state for more help in dealing with the T’s $8.2 billion debt.

Grabauskas, who did not receive the raise himself, is able to increase the pay of executive employees without approval of the MBTA board.

AP-ES-08-16-08 0852EDT

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