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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Comments

  • Voter

    After my friend's car was disabled on I-79 after a deer crash and no cell phone signal. It was nice to see these "angels". They called for a tow truck and waited there with us until they arrived. The state could afford this service if they would do some comprehensive welfare reform.

  • Your Next Governor

    This is one of the best programs I ever have seen in this state. The Courtesy Patrol is one that we see positive results every day. If the Governor or legislature doesn't fund this one, they are truly idiots once again.

  • ParryWV

    I have always been proud of WV for having the courtesy patrol. It felt like we were being neighborly to visitors passing through and to our own folk too. It’s sad that something so needed is axed.

  • Kevin

    Here is a thought. I don't know how many taxpaying and working people there are in our state but I would be ok if $15.00 A YEAR PER PERSON FEE TAKEN OUT. THAT IS A GOOD START.

  • Aaron

    The service is not free. When they brought me gas, I had to scrounge up change to cover for 2 gallons. You can go deep in those seats when you need to.

  • Scott

    More money in the Legislature pockets

  • Resident

    Gov. did not have a problem funding the worthless Greenbrier. I forget that is his rich buddies place. This Gov. needs impeached. He is one corrupt SOB.

  • mook

    All you bone heads missed the point of SAFETY! There are are plenty of times these folks are first the scene of a crash. How about one of those cell dead spots, and they are there first to call for help, and it's one of YOUR family member that needs the help and need to be flown out to get the care they need. Bet you guys would be singing a different tunelike ( we are here today put your relative in the ground)!!

  • Brian

    The service provided is a great thing though not a necessity. If motorists are required to have vehicle inspections, registrations and insurance, they're vested in traveling our roads already and other costs such as roadside assistance come with the turf as much as fuel does. Besides most insurance companies have 24 hr roadside assistance with their policy. Don't fund what you can't pay for wv legislature. If you're serious about having and paying for it, then how about a zero tolerance for uninsured motorists? Fines go towards funding the courtesy patrol! I can't stand the freeloaders without insurance driving our roads then crashing law abiding drivers' vehicles. We pay uninsured as well as our own insurance yet they don't even spend a dime after it's all done. Usually cars with OH plates parked in the driveways of WV residents in counties bordering OH

  • cutty77

    This one of THE BEST things ever done for WV,and its Highway's period.

  • The Answer

    Bookman what I meant people like you who stop and help are very few and far between.
    Just hope some day the authorities don't find your body floating in the Ohio River and your car in Detroit .
    Enough said..

  • Cynara

    I'm as much for small government as anyone, but this is a reasonable use for state money. They not only help stranded motorists, but I've also seen them clear things like blown truck tires and dead deer out of the traffic lanes. Plus it gets people off welfare and working. There's probably better places to cut expenses.

  • wvajoker

    @WhgFeeling
    Safety?? How so when they impede the real service personnel like rescue squads and law enforcement?
    How do they impede these people?
    If they impeded law enforcement, wouldn't they be arrested?
    Are you out of your mind?

    • WhgFeeling

      Believe it or not I care less. I am just stating the fact. LE has much more to do at a scene than arrest courtesy patrol. They are simply told to move out of the way. My point was and is...they don't always know their role.

  • The Answer

    One last thing there is a lot difference in most people who drive Middle Mountain and the people who run up and down the interstate.

    • thornton

      The Answer is to not rely totally on others for The Answer to one's problems, Irregardless as they say around here, of the road, real or metaphorical, being driven.

  • The Answer

    Thornton wishing you best of luck with someone like bookman stopping on an interstate to help you. :-)
    Before you get run over by a tractor and trailer going 90 or someone not paying attention.

    • The bookman

      Stop and consider for a moment the traffic volume on the State's four lane highway system between 3pm and 7am vs the volume of traffic on those same highways between 7am and 3pm. Probably at least equivalent volume if not overall more vehicles during the 8 hours it's not covered by courtesy patrol. Throw in the remaining two lane system 24/7 that exists uncovered by courtesy patrol and the comparison isn't even close.

      So the majority of roadside assistance occurring along the highways in WV is by private sector service or good Samaritans. Safety is of course always a concern, and even more so on two lane roads where there is almost always no place to get the disabled vehicle off the highway. Not to mention that having a courtesy patrolman on scene doesn't change the environment of high speed traffic passing a disabled vehicle. It's dangerous regardless of who ever is in that environment.

      As for your remark regarding someone like bookman helping an 85 year old person broken down along the interstate, you sir/madam don't know me. You base your assumption on the flawed political stereotype that those with a conservative bent are self serving, above it all types of people who would never stoop so low as to help someone in need. You couldn't be farther from accurate.

      I happen to travel throughout the region, primarily in WV, as part of my business and have had the Opportunity over these twenty years to help countless people resolve their circumstances along a highway. It is a very rewarding experience to help someone in need, and I highly recommend it. Whether it's two Russian guys out of gas who followed a GPS to nowhere, or a Mexican family stuck in the Snow on Allegheny Mountain on Christmas night, (whose children are now classmates of my children), or the dad from Baltimore lost trying to find AB College in Philippi, I could go on and on. Be careful who you disparage, as you really don't know me. You just think you do!

      • Hop'sHip

        Bookie: Even if that broken-down car carries an Obama for President bumper sticker?

        • WhgFeeling

          Nice retort Bookman.

          Hop's seriously you have to throw politics in? A good samaritan is just that. Doesn't matter whom they are helping. They help anyone in need.

        • The bookman

          Of course, as that's a double down opportunity to not only warm a heart but change a mind. Kidding.

          The last Obama sticker I pushed against was a Volvo at the edge of Canaan Valley. The funny thing is that he was a Good Deed Doer as well, as he had a twenty something from Fairfax, VA who had ditched his car in Dryfork.

          WV is full of people who extend a helping hand. A seasonal neighbor from Arizona, a proudly liberal former professor from UC Berkeley, once told me he had experienced three flat tires in his 70 years, all in WV, thankfully. He had yet to change one of them as there was always someone on the scene to do it before he could remember where he stored the jack. You would have liked him, much. His seasonal vehicle still has Kerry/Edwards on it. And yes, I was one of the three who changed a tire for him.

          • Hop'sHip

            We'll if I did have an Obama sticker (and I don't) and I had the misfortune to have car problems, I would hope that I would have the good fortune to have you be the one to stop. Somehow I think it would be more likely to be someone with another different mentality prevalent on this site, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!!!!!!!!!!