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AGREEMENTS IN PLACE FOR START OF FREEWAY TOW TRUCK PATROLS

 AGREEMENTS IN PLACE FOR START OF FREEWAY TOW TRUCK PATROLS
 OAKLAND, Calif., June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Directors of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (MTC SAFE) today took several steps toward launching the Bay Area Freeway Service Patrol -- a program to clear the region's most congested freeways of accidents and breakdowns through the use of roving tow trucks.
 MTC SAFE's administrative committee voted to authorize MTC's executive director to execute two-year agreements -- subject to the availability of state funding -- with 10 private tow truck companies, whose vehicles will provide the service. The group also authorized a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a partnership between Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol and the MTC SAFE to operate the program, as well as a cooperative funding agreement between Caltrans and the MTC SAFE to funnel state monies to the patrol. Caltrans is expected to contribute roughly $2 million annually to the Bay Area program contingent on the governor's signing of the state budget this summer.
 The Federal Highway Administration also will help fund tow truck patrol operations as part of traffic mitigation efforts for the Interstate 680/Highway 24 interchange construction project, and, starting in July 1993, for the Interstate 80 project to construct carpool/transit lanes between the Bay Bridge and Richmond.
 A total of 29 tow trucks and six backups will ultimately take to the Bay Area's freeways. After a period of training for their drivers, the first tow trucks could begin patrolling in the East Bay in September. A second group will begin rolling in the West Bay two months later, with the remaining trucks on South Bay roads by early next year.
 Freeway service patrol tow truck drivers will provide continuous patrol service mostly during morning and evening commute hours on 50 miles of freeways, offering free, on-the-spot help to motorists, such as jump-starting cars, changing flat tires, refilling radiators or providing a gallon of gas. If a car cannot be made mobile again within 10 minutes, it will be towed from the freeway to a predetermined location free of charge. Any costs associated with moving the car from the drop-off site will be the responsibility of the driver.
 The freeway service patrol is one of 16 short-term projects (dubbed "JUMP Start") introduced by a partnership of local, state and federal transportation and environmental agencies in January to streamline interagency working relationships and to reduce congestion and smog in the Bay Area. MTC SAFE is the administrative body responsible for the region's roadside motorist-aid call boxes.
 -0- 6/10/92
 /CONTACT: Ellen Griffin, 510-464-7847; or Wes Wells,


510-464-7825, both of MTC/ CO: Metropolitan Transportation Commission ST: California IN: TRN SU:

MC-MM -- SF006 -- 8888 06/10/92 14:11 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 10, 1992
Words:452
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