White House Christmas Tree Delivery Highlights Value of U.S. Highways and Roads.
COST Commentary: This is a wonderful American Thanksgiving and Christmas Story. The truck driver is expressing his joy and thankfulness for the opportunity to drive the White House Christmas tree from the western forest, across the country to the White House.
Embodied in his proud expression is the message of how important trucking and the highways and roadways they travel on are to almost every aspect of our lives. It seems sometimes our inexperienced, dreaming planners and leaders focus on getting cars off roads and lose site of the many other benefits of effective highways and roads, in addition to private vehicles, including shared, transit, emergency, business service and delivery, school, government,etc vehicles. Roadways carry 99% of the region’s daily trips. Without them, quality of life would be dramatically degraded: trips would take much longer, even if possible; public transit would be substantially degraded; access to regular and emergency care would be constrained; school access would be more difficult; normal shopping would take much more time and everyday goods would cost much more; Business services and delivery would cost significantly more; Emergency vehicles’ slower response would save less property and fewer lives.
Quality of Life and mobility have been directly related for thousands of years. One of the strong pillars of our great country is the superior national roadway system and mobility capability developed by the United States, starting in the late 1950’s. It has continually expanded and improved to serve and advance citizens’ quality-of-life. A major element of this system is described by this professional truck driver.
By Larry Speakermeier, Fox News, November 26, 2017
The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree against the early morning sky Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. This year’s tree is due to be delivered Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. (AP2013)
I’m one of 3.5 million professional truck drivers on America’s roads working to safely deliver the goods that keep our lives and economy moving, but on my latest trip, my truck is longer and heavier than usual and I couldn’t be prouder. With a 79-foot-tall Engelmann Spruce in tow, I’m the driver who’s been safely traveling across the country to deliver this year’s Christmas tree to the U.S. Capitol.
I’ve been hauling for 49 years through 49 states and am proud to say I’ve traveled 3.5-million accident-free miles. But this is the proudest job I’ve had so far in my career. For over 50 years, a Christmas tree has been put on display at the Capitol each holiday season, and this year, I’ve been proud to be a part of it, along with Whitewood Transport, who was selected from over 500,000 trucking companies in the U.S. to haul the 2017 tree to Washington.
On November 13th, I departed Montana for a two-week adventure to make the 3,460-mile journey from the Kootenai National Forest to our nation’s capital. Day after day, I’ve been rolling across the country, with stops in Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, where thousands of people have gathered to take part in this annual and festive journey.
I am grateful and proud of my job. Trucking really moves America. The industry provides one out of every 16 jobs. Some may be surprised to know that 80 percent of our communities in America rely solely on trucking for the delivery of their goods that keeps us running. The trucking industry also makes investments to improve safety and protect the environment, providing billions of dollars to develop the most modern trucks to keep us all safe, which is our highest priority.
For me, the best part about trucking is being able to see America. As I travel from one corner of our country to another, I have been inspired at how the nation’s Christmas tree is truly “the people’s tree.”
For me, the best part about trucking is being able to see America. Most jobs don’t offer that opportunity. Luckily, on this journey, I’ve had the privilege to provide thousands of people across several states the opportunity to view the beautiful spruce tree before it makes its arrival to Washington. As I travel from one corner of our country to another, I have been inspired at how the nation’s Christmas tree is truly “the people’s tree.” As I reach Washington and anticipate the lights that will shine from the grand holiday tree onto the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, I am reminded of the true value that trucking provides to America as well as the unique and special opportunities it provides. This season, the holiday gifts under the tree, the sweaters on your back and the food on the kitchen table wouldn’t be possible without trucking. I am proud to help deliver the holidays.
Larry Spiekermeier is a professional truck driver with Whitewood Transport in Plains, Montana.