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Representative Darin LaHood

Representing the 18th District of Illinois

LaHood, Davis, Napolitano Introduce Legislation to Commemorate Historic Route 66

February 9, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL), Rodney Davis (R-IL), and Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA) today announced the introduction of two bills to commemorate the historical significance of Route 66. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Davis introduced H.R. 66, a bill to establish a commission to recommend activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026. As a member of the Committee on Natural Resources, LaHood introduced H.R. 801, a bill to amend the National Trails System Act to designate the Route 66 National Historic Trail. Napolitano, a senior member of both the Transportation and Natural Resources Committees, proudly coauthored both pieces of legislation.

“Spanning nearly a century, Route 66 has been a crucial transportation artery traveling through the heartland of America. The Mother Road has provided jobs and opportunities and been a powerful economic development tool for communities throughout Illinois and every state it runs through, as well as providing timeless memories for those traveling cross country. It is time it receives the national recognition it deserves,” stated Rep. LaHood. “Designating Route 66 as a National Historic Trail would provide this highway with a permanent program to preserve, promote, and economically develop it. I am excited to partner with Rep. Davis and Rep. Napolitano to designate Route 66 a National Historic Trail and commence its centennial celebration.”

“I am proud to have America’s most iconic road run through the middle of my district and it’s important we celebrate its history,” said Davis. “From providing thousands of jobs to unemployed workers during the Great Depression to transporting equipment and supplies for World War II to becoming a symbol of freedom and independence in the 1950s, Route 66 has been the ‘road to opportunity’ for millions of Americans throughout our history. I look forward to celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2026.”

Congresswoman Napolitano added, “Route 66 runs east to west through my entire district and is an integral part of California’s San Gabriel Valley’s culture and economy. Our local restaurants, shops, and other businesses, like so many others dotting the interstate from the heartland to the west coast, provide rest breaks for travelers, allowing them to sample the local flavors of our communities that are proud to be connected by the iconic road. As we begin looking toward the centennial, I am proud to partner with my Illinois colleagues, Congressmen Davis and LaHood, to revitalize and preserve Route 66 for future generations.”

In April, Davis and LaHood plan to travel Route 66, which runs through both their districts, making stops in several Illinois communities to recognize the historical significance. Additionally, Illinois State Rep. Tim Butler who has introduced HB 66 in the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission, which establishes an Illinois commission to commemorate the 2026 centennial, will join the event. His bill is before the Illinois House Committee on Tourism, Hospitality and Craft Industry today. Davis and LaHood have been working with the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership to introduce these important bills.

Details of LaHood’s bill (H.R. 801) include:

  • Establishing a federal designation of Route 66 as a National Historic Trail

Details of Davis’ bill (H.R. 66) include:

  • Creates a 19-member Commission to recommend activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026. Directs the Commission to host a conference on the U.S. Numbered Highway System, marking it’s 100 year anniversary.
  • Directs the Department of Transportation, in consultation with governors of the eight states through which 66 passes, to develop a plan on the preservation needs of Route 66