Senator Scott E. Hutchinson hailed a decision by the Pennsylvania State Police to end a controversial pilot program that used a California-based company to provide towing dispatch services for incidents on local state roads.
Senator Hutchinson was informed by the State Police on Friday (November 7) of the decision to end the contract with AutoReturn for emergency dispatch services for state roads and Interstate 80 in the Troop E region: Crawford, Erie, Venango and Warren counties.
“This is a good and appropriate decision by the State Police,” said Senator Hutchinson, who along with several of his Senate colleagues had written letters of strong opposition to the program to State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. “There were serious public safety issues and credibility concerns regarding the vendor. There was almost universal opposition to this dispatching service. Local tow operators opposed it and raised a number of concerns about the company’s business practices. This was an experiment that simply did not work.”
When the State Police awarded the no-bid contract to AutoReturn, it was done with the potential of expanding the dispatching service statewide.
“In the end, the concerns many of us — legislators, tow operators and the public — raised about safety, cost, efficiency and response times were proven under the contract,” Senator Hutchinson said. “We had concerns about the veracity, ability and competence of the vendor. These issues probably not only ended the discussions of a statewide contract, they likely were at the root of the end of the program in the Troop E region.”