Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act Introduced in the U.S. House

Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway

On Friday, May 28, 2021, Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) introduced HR8240 in the U.S.
House of Representatives. Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, [D-CA] co-sponsored the
bill.

The proposed legislation would add Route 66 to the National Historic Trail routes. Known
as the Route 66 national Historic Trail Designation Act, it first passed out of the House of
Representatives in June 2018. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate, where it
underwent some language changes before passing in August 2020. The bill did not,
however, progress beyond that point in 2020.

Route 66 has been a crucial transportation artery for the heartland of America for nearly
100 years. Towns from the Midwest to the West Coast have seen the Mother Road bring
tourism, employment, a higher quality of life, and civic pride to their communities. This
legislation will allow visitors from around the world to experience the history of Route 66
and provide local businesses and tourism industries along the route with ongoing
economic benefits.

With the introduction of the bill, Congressman LaHood noted, “The Mother Road
provides powerful economic development tools for communities throughout Illinois,
creating jobs and opportunity for 18th District residents. Designating Route 66 as a
National Historic Trail would provide this highway with a permanent program to preserve,
promote, and economically develop it. As we kick off the summer months and Americans
begin to travel again, I am proud to once again partner with Rep. Napolitano to designate
Route 66 a National Historic Trail and give it the appropriate designation it deserves.”
“National Historic Trail designation would deliver much-needed federal dollars, resources,
and jobs to our San Gabriel Valley communities and the countless others across the eight

states which proudly claim a portion of Route 66,” added Rep. Napolitano. “Providing
critical funds to be used in close coordination with cities and stakeholders, our legislation
will help rehabilitate, improve, and preserve the legacy of the iconic road, benefiting
millions of residents and boosting our economic recovery. With more and more
Americans getting vaccinated, businesses reopening, and families eager to travel, I am
proud to again join Congressman LaHood in introducing this bipartisan bill and urge all of
our colleagues to support it.”

As the historic milestone of the Road’s Centennial draws closer, the Route 66 Road Ahead
Partnership can think of no better birthday present for Route 66 than to make it a
National Historic Trail. The Road Ahead commends the efforts of Congressman LaHood
and Congresswoman Napolitano in introducing legislation to accomplish this designation.
Established in 2015, with the support of the National Park Service and the World
Monuments’ Fund, The Road Ahead Partnership’s mission is to revitalize and sustain
Route 66 as a national and international icon through partnerships focused on promotion,
preservation, research and education, as well as economic development.

Contact:
Bill Thomas, Chair-Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership
rt66theroadahead@gmail.com
217-648-5077

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