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Minnesota Tree Goes to U.S. Capitol

Posted By John Hausladen , Saturday, November 1, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Minnesota Tree Goes to U.S. Capitol – Minnesota has the honor of providing the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.  The 80-foot white spruce will be harvested in the Chippewa National Forest on October 29.  It will make numerous stops throughout Minnesota before winding its way to Washington, D.C on what else … a truck!


Hauling a Tree – The Essentiality Message - This move would not be possible without trucks, which is why the Minnesota Trucking Association has signed on as a co-sponsor of the project.  It is a great way to demonstrate the essentiality of trucking, not just for our daily needs, but also our most important events. The trucking industry has stepped up in a big way to make this happen, providing people, equipment and technology:  Kenworth – tractor; Hale – trailer; Wille Transport – drivers; and PeopleNet – fleet tracking.  The MTA assisted with logistics and over-dimension permitting for nearly 30 stops along its route.


Teacher Lesson Plan Includes Tress AND Trucks – The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree provides a great opportunity to educate students about sustainable forestry practices … and the logistics it takes to transport the tree. The MTA has worked with an educator to incorporate trucking elements into the teacher lesson plans.  Students will also be able to track the tree’s progress in real-time as it travels across the nation.  The teaching materials and tracking map can be found at  If you know a teacher, please tell them about this great resource.


Americans Like Trucks! – All of our efforts to tell the essentiality message are getting through, according to Neil Newhouse, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, a national political and public affairs research firm.  Mr. Newhouse presented the results of a recent nationwide survey commissioned by the American Trucking Associations at that organizations recent conference in San Diego.  Top level results show that of those polled, 65% had a favorable impression of the trucking industry, while only 9% had an unfavorable impression.  In political terms, these are poll results that a political candidate would die for.


Public Hates Mileage-based User Fees – In addition to the image questions, Mr. Newhouse asked some general questions about federal transportation funding.  There is a general resistance to pay more for roads, and no great preference over which mechanism, with one notable exception. Public opposition to mileage-based user fees was off the charts, coming in at 89% against. 


Key Takeaways from Public Trucking Poll – Mr. Newhouse offered five key takeaways from his survey work:

1.      Americans are positive about trucking and those beliefs are anchored on trucking’s essentiality;

2.      Americans believe truck drivers are safer than passenger car drivers;

3.      Efforts to improve safety are linked to improving trucking’s image;

4.      Americans rate roads poor and believe more money is needed, but there is no consensus on how to pay for it; and

5.      Truck drivers and those who work in the industry are our best ambassadors.

I am heartened by these results and encouraged to keep up our public education and image efforts.


Save Some Turkey for Me!  - On a personal note, here is wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, full of your favorite foods and people!



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