ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., have introduced The Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act to amend the National Trails System Act to include Route 66 as a National Historic Trail.
Similar legislation passed unanimously in the House this past June.
Route 66, also known as the Mother Road and Will Rogers Highway, is about 2,400 miles long, stretching from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif., and crossing through eight states, according to a news release.
Route 66 through New Mexico runs 380 miles connecting urban centers like Albuquerque with rural communities like Gallup and Tucumcari. In Oklahoma, Route 66 runs for over 400 miles through Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
“Route 66 is iconic – a long stretch of old road that cuts across eight states, linking the American West through a patchwork of Americana,” said Udall in a statement.
“It’s not just a place, but a personality; an open road symbolizing freedom and teeming with mom-and-pop diners, small businesses, and scenic byways. In its heyday, this legendary highway was the major artery of the United States and an important pathway for westward migration until it was bypassed by the interstate system.”
Udall said his legislation has the potential to revitalize cities, small towns and rural communities along the Route 66 corridor in New Mexico and across the country.
The bill also would safeguard Route 66 as cultural landmark, “preserving its significance as the ‘Main Street of America’ for future generations of adventurers, migrants, hitchhikers, and tourists venturing westward,” he said.
National Historic Trails are administered by the National Park Service.