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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  • TheFactIs

    Those against this program or feel it is a waste of money has never needed the service. Unfortunately, the areas they patrol are not completely covered by cell service and not everyone's vehicle is equipped with On-Star, etc. to call for help.

  • griff

    I had a flat tire on rt 19 driving a F250. front driver tire. I was removing the lug nuts when the courtesy patrol stopped. ALL he did was walk up to me, I continued to loosen the lugs. He said, "Most women don't do that". I looked up, & told him "most men don't stand there & watch a woman do it". Removed the tire, put it in another vehicle. He said "want me to wait till u get back? I said nope that I didn't need him to watch me put it back on He was as useless as boobs on a boar hog. And, he had the belly to match. Never figured out how he got all that gut behind the wheel. That was in Jan several years ago & I even was sick with upper respiratory infection. I hope is not funded. it is a waste of money

  • Wowbagger

    Take it out of the dog and horse racing subsidies.

    Problem solved!

  • Woodchuck

    Sorry but they needed the for their trp to North Dakota. Term limits will stop this greed.

  • Lbj

    Did anyone ever think about legalizing marijuana . Imagine the extra funds our great state would have for different projects.

    • WhgFeeling

      I believe this was a bill introduced but of course made it nowhere. I personally have never used marijuana but the tax benefits to me would be so substantial that I would vote for it.

  • whatamoroon

    If we have to get rid of this program, let's just hope the first person to break down in the middle of the night after its defunded is a teacher or a legislator. They are the ones who constantly cry about THEIR money while wasting OURS.

  • The Answer

    Hey thorton don't know you but hope you live to be an very old person.
    One day when lets say your 85,you are driving north on I-79 you have a flat and guess what your in a dead spot for your cell phone and there are several.
    Oh by the way your exactly half way between Big Otter and Servia happy hiking.

    • The bookman

      Well I hope I'm on my way home from the Kanawha Valley and see a fellow motorist in need so that I can stop and help Thornton, even though we may disagree on the finer points of athletics and it's social impact in the lunch room.

      That's how it's done when you can't find help in an isolated circumstance. Luckily, we live in WV where people help their fellow man. Self reliance is a wonderful thing.

      • BH

        Sure you would.

        • The bookman

          Your comment states more about you than it does about me!

      • Cindy

        I am WV born & bred but there is absolutely no way I'm getting assistance from some stranger. With all the sickos out there....

      • thornton

        85 will be in 23 that time, cell service may be improved....the pothole situation, may not be.

        However, when The bookman gives me a needed lift on I-79 those many years hence, I fully expect that we will find more on which to agree than disagree....that is normally the way when a keyboard does not separate folks.

        I wonder what folks do when on Middle Mountain Road and they sadly have a they sit and wring their hands? Do they moan pitifully and look for a cat to kick? Do they curl up in a pile of leaves and wonder what Hoppy would do? Do they believe that government should have checked that spare tire or filled their fuel tank or reminded them of the value of routine vehicle maintenance?

        The interstate courtesy service is just that...a courtesy, a nicety...certainly, a welcome hand at times..... but one that carries a cost. In tough times, costs need managed with more in mind than Horace from Miami running short of petrol.

        • WhgFeeling

          Thorton and Bookman.....I must say your comments made this gloomy Saturday morning quite a bit brighter for me. Thanks. Maybe someday I will see Bookman helping Mr. Thornton alongside the road. I too would stop and help a fellow out. It surely would not be the first time.

  • 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.