Trucks: we see them every day on Arizona roads. We ride alongside them on the freeway. As the nation gears up for the busy holiday season, many may be surprised to learn that the professional trucking industry is a critical part of making the holidays happen for America’s families. From the Christmas trees that come from our forests far and wide, to the holiday meal that will be cooked for your family, to the clothes on your back -- trucking delivers the holidays.

The fact is that 85 percent of Arizona communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. Fewer trucks on the road would result in more expensive products and slower delivery times. Remove trucking altogether, and essential cargo would not arrive to our doorsteps at all.

Trucking is not only connecting the country and delivering goods that keep us healthy and comfortable; it’s also an economic engine that powers Arizona.

The trucking industry means jobs here in the Grand Canyon State. The industry accounts for 102,230 jobs providing a good middle-class income. That’s nearly one out of every 21 jobs in the state and a substantial portion of the nearly seven million people employed nationwide in trucking jobs.

From logistics managers, to technicians and maintenance personnel, the trucking industry is home to a diverse group of professionals committed to delivering goods on time and safely. Of Arizona's total industry jobs in 2013, truck drivers alone – whether heavy, tractor-trailer, or delivery – make up nearly 37,140 jobs. Total industry wages paid in Arizona for 2013 exceeded $4.5 billion. This economic activity brings in over $2 billion in federal and state roadway taxes.

Arizona's trucking industry is strengthening small businesses – an ever-important element of our economy and arguably the most important element of America’s long-term economic stability. As of April 2014, there were 9,070 trucking companies located in our state, and most of them are small, locally-owned businesses. These companies employ our neighbors and friends and keep America moving.

The state’s trucking industry also keeps the larger, statewide economy moving, allowing businesses to prosper – to the benefit of business owners, employees, and consumers of all stripes. Trucks transport 92 percent of total manufactured tonnage in the state - 355,988 tons per day.

Trucking continues to place the safety of drivers and motorists first through driver training and student education programs, and has made significant gains in the past few years.

Combine these benefits together, and trucking remains a top contributor of our nation’s economy. So next time a tractor-trailer passes by, or you’re at the local grocery store as a truck docks in the delivery bay, you’re not just looking at an impressive 18-wheeler traveling the road with your holiday meal that will stock the shelves, or toys for the children in your family, you’re looking at a vital machine for Arizona's economic growth, prosperity and future.