On the day before historic Route 66 turns 90 years old, State Representative Tim Butler(R-Springfield) introduced House Bill 6624 which creates the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission in an effort to lay the groundwork for celebrating the famous road’s 100th anniversary in 2026.
“Route 66 is the most famous road in the world and Illinois lays claim to where the Mother Road begins,” said Rep. Butler. “The centennial of Route 66 will truly be an international celebration of this famous strip of pavement. Illinois is uniquely positioned to welcome and entertain travelers from around the world who want to experience the magic of our scenic byway.
“In an effort to plan accordingly, I believe the State should take a lead role in planning a year-long celebration that would foster activities and commemorations to attract people to our 300-mile stretch of 66. That is why I am introducing this legislation today.”
As introduced, the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission will consist of 20 members, three of whom shall be appointed by the Governor and two each from the Speaker of the House, Minority Leader of the House, President of the Senate, and Minority Leader of the Senate. Additionally, there will be nine ex-officio members representing various groups or state agencies, including the Executive Director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
The legislation states that the Centennial is a great opportunity “to celebrate the important history of Route 66 in Illinois through commemorative, educational, and community events. The centennial celebration may include events about the history of how local communities grew and changed with the construction of Route 66; the cultural impact of Route 66 in the United States and internationally; the portrayal of Route 66 in music, artwork, and folklore; and how to maintain the mystique and appeal of Route 66 for future generations.” The purpose of the Commission is to help guide these activities in Illinois.