Route 66 News

Worth watching

The St. Louis Business Journal is reporting that U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan of Missouri is planning Tuesday to introduce a bill to Congress that would provide 20 percent federal tax credits to help rehabilitate historic structures.

The Journal reports that Carnahan wants to model the program after Missouri’s much-praised program that provides rehabilitation tax credits for historic buildings.

The proposed changes to the existing federal tax credit program would cap the tax credit at $60,000. Additionally, to qualify the homeowner must have qualified expenses over two years in excess of $5,000 for a primary residence.

“Missouri serves as a national model where historic homeowners qualify for help to revitalize their home and community,” Carnahan said in a statement Monday.

Whether that includes historic businesses is uncertain. An earlier Journal story indicated that Carnahan wanted the legislation to include commercial properties.

But any sort of incentive to preserve historic properties — business or not — is praiseworthy. And such legislation, if passed and ratified, would have good repercussions for many historic properties along Route 66.

We’ll keep an eye on this imminent proposed legislation and see what the details are.

UPDATE: As expected, Carnahan introduced Tuesday what he called the Historic Homeowners Revitalization Act of 2009 (news release here).

An aide for Carnahan confirmed later Tuesday that the proposed federal tax-credits legislation is slated for historic residences only; the plan would not provide additional tax credits on top of the ones that already exist for historic commercial businesses.

Still, there are dozens of historic neighborhoods in small and medium-size towns in which Route 66 traverses. Any sort of incentive that would help maintain the character of those neighborhoods would be a very good thing.

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