Washington, D.C. — Last night, legislation introduced by Congressman Darin LaHood to establish a federal designation of Route 66 as a National Historic Trail passed out of the House of Representatives by a unanimous vote. This comes after the bill passed out of the Natural Resources Committee by a unanimous vote in January of this year. Rep. LaHood issued this statement following the bill’s passage:
“For nearly a century, Route 66 has been a crucial transportation artery for the heartland of America. Towns across the nation and throughout my district have seen the Mother Road bring tourism, employment, a higher quality of life, and civic pride to their communities,” said Rep. LaHood. “We appreciate the support of this legislation because it will allow visitors from around the world to experience the history of Route 66 while our local businesses and tourism industry receive the economic benefits.”
“The designation of Route 66 as a National Historic Trail is a perfect way to connect visitors and residents who travel across Illinois and the U.S. with the amazing stories of our communities,” Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder said. “We appreciate this partnership between the federal and local levels, including planning for the 100th anniversary, because it will allow visitors from around the world to experience the history of Route 66 while our local businesses and tourism industry receive the economic benefits.”
Before the vote, Rep. LaHood took to the House floor to advocate for this legislation, stating “Route 66’s impact on small, rural communities in Illinois and across the country cannot be understated. For example, both Atlanta, Illinois and Springfield, Illinois have benefited from renewed emphasis on Route 66. In Atlanta we’ve seen an increase in tourism to the area and as a result an increase in sales tax revenue. In Springfield we’ve seen a revitalization of underutilized parts of town. These are just two examples, but I can say with confidence that the highway’s significance has become a key driver of attracting both domestic and international tourism as well as local economic activity for the areas and states that many of us in Congress represent.” You can watch the entirety of Rep. LaHood’s remarks HERE.
Route 66 was an original highway established as part of the U.S. Highway system in 1926. The highway begins in Illinois and ends in California, running through a total of eight states.
Rep. LaHood’s bill (H.R. 801) would designate Route 66 as a National Historic Trail, providing the highway with a permanent program to preserve, promote, and economically develop. It was introduced on February 9, 2017 with Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA) as original cosponsors.