LaHood, Davis push to make Route 66 a National Historic Trail

By Blake Schnitker on April 21 at 9:51am

Two local Congressmen are teaming up to turn one of the state’s most famous roadways into a National Historic Trail.

Congressmen Darin LaHood and Rodney Davis recently embarked on a tour on Route 66 to meet with area mayors and town leaders, and to tour Route 66 museums.

The two Congressmen are introducing legislation and proposals in the U.S. House of Representatives that would establish a federal designation of Route 66 as a National Historic Trail.

LaHood says there are several reasons why he and Congressmen Davis want to celebrate the famous roadway.

“I am promoting Route 66 for a couple of reasons.We are coming up on the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026 and this is an iconic roadway. It really is a roadway of opportunity and I hit four different spots along route 66 yesterday with Congressman Rodney Davis. We had an opportunity to go through these small communities along Route 66 to promote tourism. The most important part of why I did this yesterday is I introduced legislation into U.S. congress to designate Route 66 as a National Historic Trail.”

LaHood and Davis’ proposals would also create a 19-member Commission to recommend activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026, and direct the Department of Transportation to develop a plan on the preservation needs of Route 66.

LaHood explains how getting the Historic Trail designation could help those who live near Route 66.

“When you go to these small towns and you look at the amount of people that travel Route 66, whether their international people who fly into Chicago and take the roadway all the way to California and stop in these small towns. Or you’re a car enthusiast who likes to drive along the Route, or you’re a motorcycle rider. There is a lot of opportunity for tourism, and to get it designated a National Historic Trail which will also allow for federal funding in unique situations to help fund projects along the route with infrastructure funding or tourism funding. This allows that to happen so I’m awful proud of that legislation and look forward to getting it passed with Congressman Davis.”

Congressman LaHood explains that both of the bills have bipartisan backing from multiple states.

“My legislation has a number of cosponsors from California and Kansas and New Mexico, and other places along the Route. I think of this as a very bipartisan issue where were gonna have a lot of support. I think anybody that lives along the Route or represents a Congressional district along the Route in my initial contacts with them have been very supportive.”

Both of the proposed bills were co-authored by California representative Grace Napolitano, who is a senior member of both the Transportation and Natural Resources Committees where these bills will have to pass through before being put into law. Additionally, the governors of the 8 states that Route 66 passes through will have to be consulted on the bills.