The West Virginia Courtesy Patrol is a state funded roadside assistance service. But as members in the House continue to look for places to cut to balance the 2018 budget, delegates have set their sights on the program’s $5 million budget.
The courtesy patrol has been around for almost 20 years. It’s a non-profit of the Citizens Conservation Corp through a contract with the West Virginia Division of Highways.To-date, the patrol has received over 3 million calls and employs nearly 100 people.
House Bill 2007 eliminates the patrol programs and transfers its funding to the State Road Fund.
Although the patrol travels roadways across West Virginia, it’s headquartered in Democratic Delegate Ed Evans’ district. He spoke in opposition to the bill and argues he didn’t get elected to get rid of jobs.
“Mr. Speaker, job creation, job retention, and earning potential is what we should be about. This [bill] is gonna kill 90 jobs. 90. That’s drivers; that’s the people that actually do the repair work; change those tires for you on the side of the road, whatever it might be,” Evans said.
But not everyone agreed with Evans, like Delegate Danny Hamrick, a Republican from Harrison County, who says the private sector can provide the same service.
“Just noting, looking at my car insurance bill, I note that I pay approximately $3 a month to have a roadside assistance survey, er service provided to do the same things, so it is available through many different avenues to the citizens of our state,” Hamrick said.
House Bill 2007 passed on a close vote, 58 to 41 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.