Illinois announces $4 million grant program for Route 66

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity on Thursday announced the creation of a $4 million grant program “for the development of tourism, education, preservation, and promotion of the 100th Anniversary of Route 66” in 2026.

According to a news release from the state government:

This funding opportunity supports the development of tourism, education, preservation, and promotion of Route 66, while also preparing it to meet the needs of future travelers. As our transportation sector evolves to include more electric vehicles (EVs), it is critical to embrace future trends and promote the state’s tourism areas as EV destinations in order to unlock all Route 66 has to offer. In support of this, the application prioritizes projects that are focused on promoting future tourism trends, such as electric vehicles.

This is the grant program’s priorities:

• Projects that are statewide in nature and benefit the entire Illinois portion of Route 66 from Chicago to Chain of Rocks Bridge.
• Projects that develop new or enhance existing attractions that elevate the Route 66 experience in Illinois.
• Projects that support improved navigation for visitors traveling Route 66; and
• Projects that strengthen future tourism trends that include electric vehicles.

Certified conventions and visitors bureaus can submit an application until March 7. To view the Notice of Funding Opportunity, go to

(Image of Route 66 directional sign in Illinois by Mike Linksvayer via Flickr)

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