Plan calls for Route 66 to become National Historic Trail

There’s a new proposal moving through Congress seeking to designate Route 66, the highway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles and was once an economic driver for small towns across a post-World War II United States, as a National Historic Trail.

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Jim Inhofe announced this week the introduction of a bipartisan bill that would amend the National Trails System Act and include Route 66 in an effort to help revitalize cities and small towns that sit along the historic corridor.

The plan comes as cities and towns where the once busy Route 66 passed through have been working developing revitalization projects to rehabilitate aging buildings and landmarks to attract tourists.

Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, said in a statement that Route 66 symbolizes freedom that allowed motorists to visit mom-and-pop diners, small businesses, and scenic byways through eight states.

“Just as importantly, this bill would safeguard Route 66 as (a) cultural landmark, preserving its significance as the `Main Street of America’ for future generations of adventurers, migrants, hitchhikers, and tourists venturing westward,” Udall said.

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