The Freeway Service Team is completely free for any driver stranded in a construction zone. State Farm is now the new sponsor for the program.
It's thanks to a flat tire John Dishinger learned not only about the Freeway Service Team's free help, but also the new sponsorship.
"I'm feeling pretty good. I might actually switch to State Farm, I'm actually Progressive. So, that was really awesome. I feel good," said Dishinger.
Until now the FST was funded through state taxes, but with State Farm's annual sponsorship of $225,000, that's a thing of the past. Communications manager for the Department of Transportation, David Hunt, says this sponsorship provides financial relief.
"State Farm sponsorship helps take the burden off the taxpayer cost of operating the freeway service team which is important...Those smaller incidents, blown tires, out of gas, they can have residual effects on other traffic," said Hunt.
Towing cars, changing tires, jump starting batteries - you name it - for almost 20 years the Freeway Service Team has been helping out drivers in Wisconsin. In 2016 the team worked more than 27,000 hours on the roads and responded to more than 13,000 incidents. This is across the state in more than five different counties.
Wisconsin law enforcement is grateful for the service and proud of the new sponsorship. Wisconsin State Patrol Major Anthony Burrell says without FST it'd be somewhat overwhelming trying to help everyone on the roads for every single incident. The team helps alleviate some of those issues.
"They're able to help us clear those scenes that much quicker. So that we can get that traffic moving and minimize any impacts that may occur afterwards," said Burrell.
State Farm's sponsorship comes with new uniforms and new look for the trucks. But tow operator Gadiel Romero says nothing about his service has changed.
"I love what I do, I love helping people. Especially when someone's stressed on the side of the road and we show up...there's nothing better than that," said Romero.
Daily service for drivers in Dane, Rock, Manitowoc, Outigamie, and Milwaukee Counties are offered in construction zones. To learn about their roving patrols or more about the Freeway Service Team visit their website here.