State could eliminate Freeway Service Patrol - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

State could eliminate Freeway Service Patrol

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Tire changes, power starts and a little extra gas are just some of the services provided for free by the Nevada Freeway Service Patrol.

Those services could go away if the state eliminates the program to cut costs.

The service is currently available in Las Vegas and Reno. Here at home, thousands of people are helped each year by the service. Still, the state is not sure it's enough people to warrant it any longer.

"I got a flat tire. I replaced my tire and then it was flat too," said Oscar Yadao, who ran into trouble on the I-15 near Flamingo Road.

Luckily for Yadao, help was nearby.

"We stop for every single motorist along the side of the freeway, and we assist them in any way we can, from repairing their vehicle, giving them gas and even pushing the vehicle off the road or just giving them a bottle of water while they wait for a tow," said Freeway Service Patrol technician Anthony Firpo.

The service has been patrolling Las Vegas highways for 12 years but all that could soon change. The Department of Transportation is looking into just how effective the service is.

According to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), the $2.3 million program helped 40,000 people in 2011, but that number has decreased every year since 2008.

Currently, six vehicles patrol a stretch of 178 miles within Las Vegas. The program is funded with federal dollars. It not only helps stranded drivers, it gives the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) a break as well.

"We have very limited resources on what we can carry on our vehicles because of the large equipment we carry. Their vans are actually well suited, what I call a garage on wheels," said NHP Trooper Loy Hixson.

Nevada State Controller Kim Wallen, a member of the Department of Transportation's board of directors, said the state does not wish to eliminate the service. However, they are looking to get the best value for what taxpayers are paying for.

More information on the future of the service should be made available during the next board meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 12.

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