CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Legislature left funding for the state Courtesy Patrol out of the 2014-2015 budget. The governor signed the budget bill into law Thursday.

Courtesy Patrol Director Jennifer Douglass said she had no idea lawmakers had failed to set aside funding for the coming year. She found out late Thursday afternoon.

“If it means a special session [of the legislature] to get this resolved. I have the utmost respect and confidence that our legislators will do the right thing,” she said.

The Tomblin administration has talked about calling a special legislative session in May or June to discuss budget issues. The Courtesy Patrol is funded through June 30.

Douglass said she can’t image West Virginia’s interstate system without the men and women of the Courtesy Patrol.

“We’ve been out there for almost 16 years, assisted over 280,000 motorists,” according to Douglass. “There’s a huge value in having the program.

The Courtesy Patrol started out as a 24-hour program but was cut back during the Manchin administration to just 16 hours from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m., in order save money.

The program currently has an annual budget of $4.7 million through the Courtesy Patrol Fund. All that money comes from Lottery funds but has to be appropriated by the state legislature. She said the patrol is too important not to fully fund.

“They have a presence as far as safety on the highways, security, peace of mind just knowing that help is right around the corner, all the employment opportunities it provides for our state, the tourism friendly aspect of it,” stressed Douglass.

The Courtesy Patrol currently employs 80 workers who cover the entire state.

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  • Michael

    I sincerely hope none of the drivers get hurt, or they'll be SOL. Although they get no benefits whatsoever, they're considered state workers while on the job, all they get is minimum wage, but they deserve more.

    • WhgFeeling

      I must assume you are an employee of this program. Why not try going to one of the other agencies that need positions filled?

  • Leroy j Gibbs

    Computer went out in my car around ten pm in Maryland on a Friday night. Stranded on interstate. State police wouldn't even come out. Luckily we were able to find a tow truck and a hotel but it was a horrible experience. Wish they had a courtesy patrol

    • DWL

      Must have been a Government Motors vehicle. Always searching for more government handouts to keep it moving.

  • Wirerowe

    We need to find a way . Good ambassadors for west Virginians and out of state motorists who break down.

    • Jonus Grumby

      Then let them fund it.

  • thornton

    Cell phones and self-sufficiency......both reduce the actual necessity for this service.

  • WhgFeeling

    This program is a big waste of money and finding out how much is spent on this program I feel it is even a bigger waste of government money we don't have. I feel bad some will lose employment but with the availability of open positions in DOC and DOH they should be able to find a job.

    • Me

      Were you live at WHGFeeling? They are sure are not hiring ar DOH in Hampshire. The governor still has a freeze on hiring.

  • Herold

    Anyone who has ever needed their service will never talk, vote, or recommend against funding. Besides being a VERY necessary service, it's also a LARGE safety factor in roadside breakdowns. You can't measure that!!

    • griff

      you are wrong about that. I could have used their help when I had a flat tire. But the man just stood there as I was taking the tire off. the money used for this could be used for a more worthwhile purpose

    • Jonus Grumby

      It's a luxury, not a necessity. Food, water & shelter are necessities. If we had the financial resources to keep it running, by all means do it. But we don't have that luxury.

    • WhgFeeling

      A "VERY necessary" service???? Really?? So we could not survive without them???

      Safety?? How so when they impede the real service personnel like rescue squads and law enforcement?

      • JustaFan

        A necessity?????? Funny, I've been driving the I-79 Corridor for 25 years--and before there were cell phones. How on earth did I survive????

        They are a nice luxury, but they are far from a necessity. I would rather see it end, than have my taxes raised.

  • Teufel

    It's a nice program if can afford it, however the already over-burdened tax payer cant afford it; end the program....

  • ViennaGuy

    Here's a solution:

    Take the subsidies away from the dog/horse tracks and use them to fund the Courtesy Patrol.

    Just sayin' ...

    • Concerned

      Exactly. Priorities are mixed up.

  • DWL

    Born from the Clinton era, the Courtesy Patrol was funded by the feds as a way to get welfare recipients off the couch and gainfully employed. Then, in the normal course of government, it evolved into a waste of taxpayer money. The lack of these few folks means AAA will change more tires and bring more gas to stranded travelers.

    • Larry

      Well said, and since everyone has a cell phone, even those who the rest of us support by working and paying taxes (Obamaphone) help is always just a quick call away.

  • BH

    What a shame. This service is one of the few state funded programs that is worth the cost.
    PS - better to quit subsidizing dog and horse owner's @ the race tracks.

  • GobblyGook

    Just more and more stupidity that comes out of the WV Legislature. Stupid is as Stupid does.

  • Rodney Hytonen

    This "austerity" scam HAS TO BE STOPPED!

    (Who hasn't broken down on the 4-lane and been glad to see them? And if your car's that bad, you probably can't afford a cellphone.)

    Voters, PAY ATTENTION to who votes against 24/7 funding for this life-saving measure, but FOR corporate (O'n'G) welfare and reduced safety measures!

    People Over Profits!

    • WhgFeeling

      Welfare gives out FREE phones.

  • The bookman

    It's a luxury, not a necessity, just like an inflated purse at the dog or horse track. The government has no business being in the roadside assistance business. In fact, there is most likely an economic cost to the private sector. Priorities must be in order or our tax burden is going to grow exponentially next year. Almost 5 million dollars to give someone some gas along I-79. Good call to leave it out of the budget.

    • Big Bob-E


  • a concerned educator

    This is truly a service that ALL West Virginians, as well as ALL visitors to the state can benefit. How sad that our legislatures, as well as the governor, "Forgot" about it.

    • griff

      they were too busy making sure jim justice got his tax breaks

    • Fed Up

      I wish they would have "forgot" the undeserved teacher raise!

      • Plopaganda

        Maybe if our teachers had better support, we wouldn't wind up with ignorant so-and-so's like yourself.

      • Quit Eating

        Yeah, God forbid if we try to help some of the most underpaid teachers in the U.S.A.

  • john

    Dagnabit, The horse and dog tracks and the Greenbrier are more important. If you have vehicle problems on the interstates, just start walking. Its a shame that such important services as this is not funded, at least to a degree....Just my opinion..

    • Cindy

      But remember...walking along the interstate is illegal. I ran out of gas along I79. I was only 2 miles from the exit I was going to get gas at. I live 40 miles away from where I was at. I called *SP & was told that if I started walking I would be ticketed. But courtesy patrol didnt come on until 4pm & it was only 12:30 & all the troopers were out to lunch. She told me call a tow service but didnt have any numbers to give me. So I had my dad drive 40 miles to bring me gas. While I was waiting a state trooper & county deputy in Harrison Co drove past me multiple times. They were getting speeders. Finally after an hour the trooper pulled over. The trooper implied that he wasnt supposed to help b/ c that's what courtesy patrol was for. I wasnt happy & wasnt very polite. He then proceeded to run my tags. Only then did the county cop stop. Needless to say...if I was just travelling through this state & didnt know anyone i would have been SOL. I would rather fund that than most other things the state pays for.

      • I'm honest at least

        It used to be protect and serve now its a race to write the most tickets........pretty sad.