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Route 66 News

Route 66 bills in Congress need co-sponsors

The Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative is seeking to have Route 66 advocates lobby their local U.S. representative and senator to co-sponsor two bills working their way through Congress.

The bills are HR 801, which would name Route 66 as a National Historic Trail, and HR 66, which would set up a Route 66 100th Anniversary Commission for the year 2026. As of Friday night, HR 801 had 11 co-sponsors, and HR 66 had 14.

John Conoboy, retired from the National Park Service, passed along advice in an email for such efforts (his text has been lightly edited):

1. If you have questions, or if anyone from a congressional representatives staff has questions about National Historic Trails, feel free to contact me, or have them contact me at jccon(at)swcp(dot)com

Also there is information about National Historic Trails at the Road Ahead website.

2. I recently read an article about what works when contacting your representatives in Congress. Best is to make a personal contact. Set up an appointment and talk to them, or their staff, in person.

3. You may find it easier to contact the local office for your representative first. Try to talk to their primary staff person. Ideally, try to get them to give you the name of the staffer in Washington who handles legislation issues for the representative and then contact that person by phone. Put them in touch with Ashley in Congressman LaHood’s office, or for the centennial commission bill, the staff person in Rodney Davis’s office.

4. Form letters are not all that effective, but if that is all you have, then it is better than nothing.

5. Stress that this legislation is bipartisan.

6. Stress that we had strong support for the National Historic Trail when the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership did public meetings in 2015 all along the route. We have also received letters of support from other national and state Route 66 organizations.

With that, here is a suggested letter for the National Historic Trail legislation:

Designate Route 66 a National Historic Trail

Dear Congressman/woman ___________:

We invite you to cosponsor HR 801, a bill to designate Route 66 as a National Historic Trail.

Route 66 was our nation’s first all-paved U.S. Highway System connecting the Midwest to California. In the 1930s, it served as a “road to opportunity” for hundreds of thousands of Americans escaping the devastation of the Dust Bowl, and provided thousands of jobs putting unemployed workers who had lost their jobs during the Great Depression to work on road crews.

During the Second World War, Route 66 transported troops, equipment and supplies to military bases across the country, and was used after the War by thousands of troops returning home to their families. By the 1950s, Route 66 had seen the rise of the tourism and became a symbol of American freedom and independence.

HR 801 amends the National Trails System Act to designate the Route 66 National Trail. Doing so will recognize the significant contribution of Route 66 to our nation’s transportation and cultural history.

If you would like to cosponsor this legislation, or if you have any questions, please contact Ashley Antoskiewicz [[email protected]], Legislative Director for the author of HR 801, Congressman Ray LaHood, R-IL.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

________

Here is the suggested letter for the centennial legislation:

Commemorate and Preserve Route 66 on its 100th Anniversary

Dear Colleague:

We invite you to cosponsor the Route 66 Centennial Commission Act, legislation that would commemorate the national significance of Route 66 on its 100th anniversary.

Route 66 was our nation’s first all-paved U.S. Highway System connecting the Midwest to California. In the 1930s, it served as a “road to opportunity” for hundreds of thousands of Americans escaping the devastation of the Dust Bowl, and provided thousands of jobs putting unemployed workers who had lost their jobs during the Great Depression to work on road crews.

During the Second World War, Route 66 transported troops, equipment and supplies to military bases across the country, and was used after the War by thousands of troops returning home to their families. By the 1950s, Route 66 had seen the rise of the tourism and became a symbol of American freedom and independence.

H.R. 66 creates a 19-member Commission to recommend activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026. Further, the legislation directs the U.S. Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Governors of the eight states through which Route 66 passes, to develop a plan on the preservation needs of the road.

If you would like to cosponsor this legislation, or if you have any questions, please contact Miles Chiotti with Congressman Davis’s office at [email protected] or Joe Sheehy with Congresswoman Napolitano’s office at [email protected] Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

_________

(Image of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington by Phil Roeder via Flickr)

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