On Tuesday, legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Route 66 passed the U.S. House. The Route 66 Centennial Commission Act will establish a centennial commission in preparation for the 100th anniversary of Route 66, which begins in Chicago and continues through six other states before ending on the Pacific Coast in California. U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) were also sponsors of the legislation.
Central Illinois leaders and Route 66 advocates applauded the passage of the legislation.
“Illinois leads the way on Route 66 and I am so pleased to have the Federal government on board with planning for the centennial of the greatest road in the world,” said Illinois State Representative Tim Butler. “2026, which will also be the 250th anniversary of our Nation, will bring tremendous interest from around the world to explore the Mother Road. We look forward to welcoming people as they begin–or maybe end–their Route 66 experience in Illinois.”
“Route 66 plays an important factor in Litchfield’s economy. Due to Route 66, Litchfield has multiple national name brand hotels, an abundance of restaurants, prominent tourist attractions, and an international Route 66 reputation. Route 66 is the most famous road in the world and has become synonymous with the freedom associated with traveling the open road in the United States of America. It is important to develop a National Route 66 Centennial Commission to celebrate this historic road, generate continued income in Route 66 communities, and preserve Route 66 for future generations.” – Steve Dougherty, Mayor of the City of Litchfield
“U.S. Route 66 or better known as the Mother Road, was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago through Illinois across the country, ending in Santa Monica, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles. The road is recognized in popular culture throughout the world from past hit songs and television series. Today, travelers from around the globe explore the open road discovering new experiences through past and present life of today’s small business owners. As we embark on the 100th anniversary of Route 66 the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau supports the creation of the Centennial Commission as a turning point for further preservation, community and tourism development efforts for future generations to learn of the road’s history.” – Cory Jobe, President & CEO Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau
The commission created by the Route 66 Centennial Commission Act would be made up of representatives from each of the eight Route 66 states and would recommend activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary in 2026. The Route 66 Ahead Partnership supports this legislation.