Washington’s trucking industry pays $7.7 Billion each year

The Washington State trucking industry pays approximately $7.7 billion in wages to industry employees annually, according to new data released by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). As of the end of 2017, there were 139,450 trucking industry jobs in Washington; in other words, 1 out of 20 jobs in Washington is in trucking.

“The men and women of Washington’s trucking industry prove every day that they are vital and valued members of a thriving economy and community,” said Sheri Call, Executive Vice President of Washington Trucking Associations (WTA). Ms. Call continued, “With an average salary of just under $55,000, trucking in Washington provides not just good-paying jobs, but a sense of pride knowing that trucking is providing a service to everyone in our state.”

Ms. Call pointed to additional data from ATRI to back up this assertion; “80% of the total manufactured goods tonnage transported in Washington goes by truck, and 79.9% of the communities in Washington rely solely on trucks to move their goods. Most of the products you have in your house got to your store or your online retailer’s fulfillment center on a truck.”

In addition to the business taxes every company in Washington pays, the ATRI data shows that the trucking industry statewide pays $775 million per year in federal and state roadway taxes and fees. This adds up to roughly 32% of the taxes owed by Washington motorists annually while traveling only 8% of the vehicle miles traveled in Washington (4.7 billion miles for trucking vs. 61 billion miles total).

“The next time you see a standard 5-axle tractor-trailer combination on the freeway, remember this; that one tractor & one trailer account for $18,877 in federal & state highway taxes paid out every year,” said Ms. Call.

Ms. Call pointed out that the trucking industry is often ignored because of its own success. “As with many aspects of society, trucking is an afterthought when it is functioning well; it’s only mentioned when something goes wrong. A semi-truck crash on I-5 in the middle of Tacoma makes headlines; millions of on-time deliveries without incident and tremendous environmental improvements go unnoticed, or at least taken for granted. Those tremendous results only happen with the skill, professionalism and hard work that the trucking industry exemplifies every day,” she said.

The ATRI data shows the non-economic strides the industry has made in a couple of key areas in recent years; safety and environmental impact. Ms. Call pointed to a number of benchmarks; the change in fatal crash rates per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) over the last 41 years, the difference in crash rates in 2016 in Washington compared to the rest of the US, and changes in truck emission rates.


ATRI data shows that, in the period from 1975 to 2016, the fatal crash rate per million VMT has dropped 71% nationwide. In 2016, the fatal crash rate for trucking per 100 million VMT in Washington was 1.02, compared to the US average of 1.34 per VMT. New diesel engines today produce 98% less particulate matter and nitrogen oxides compared to 1990. The newer engines also produce 97% less in sulfur emissions compared to 1999.

“It is WTAs hope that both policymakers and the public-at-large understand the benefits that a vibrant, healthy trucking industry provide for our community, and that public policy that impacts the trucking industry affects not just our economy but our entire community,” said Ms. Call.

About WTA: Washington Trucking Associations (WTA) is a statewide, member supported trade organization, representing over 800 companies that operate commercial vehicles in Washington and throughout the region.

– Washington Trucking Associations (WTA)

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