Route 66 Still Waits On National Historic Trail Designation

By Benjamin Cox on December 27, 2019 at 6:04am

A section of abandoned alignment of Route 66 outside of Auburn, Illinois.

A national landmark in the area has gone another year without receiving funds for maintenance and repair. Congress has recessed for the end of the year and has not reauthorized the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Legislation to designate Route 66 a National Historic Trail was sponsored by 18th District Republican Darin LaHood and 13th District Republican Rodney Davis in June 2018, passing the House unanimously but it failed in the Senate. Currently, the bill still resides in that chamber awaiting passage.

The designation would free up resources, such as staff, technical services and economic development assistance to preserve the road, according to the State Journal Register. The Corridor Preservation Program has worked to rehabilitate other historic landmarks along the highway in other states in recent years under the guidance of the National Park Service.

Route 66 travels through Northeastern Macoupin and Western Sangamon counties, where patches of the original highway from the 1920s still exist. The World Monuments Fund in 2008 listed Route 66 as one of its 100 Most Endangered Sites.