New Route 66 National Historic Trail bill introduced in Congress

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) on Friday introduced the Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, with U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) as the co-sponsor.

The bill is so new, it hadn’t yet been added to the database of the Congress’ bill-search website as of Friday evening. The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership and LaHood’s office, however, touted the bill’s introduction in separate news releases.

It would be the third time Congress has attempted to pass legislation designating Route 66 a national historic trail, under the auspices of the National Park Service.

The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership stated:

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. […]
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.”

Bill Thomas, chairman of the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership, commended the introduction of the legislation. Pam Bowman, senior director of Public Lands Policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, also endorsed the bill.

Route 66 News wrote about the benefits of designating Route 66 as a National Historic Trail nine years ago. You can read the analysis here.

(Image of Route 66 in California by Meins Photography via Flickr)

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