Davis, LaHood Tour Historic Route 66 in Central Illinois

Highlight Economic Significance & Bills Commemorating 100th Anniversary

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today continued his tour of historic Route 66 through Central Illinois with U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) and State Rep. Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield). The tour is to highlight the economic significance of the most famous road in America and his bill commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Route 66. The lawmakers were joined by local mayors and other community leaders along the way. Yesterday, Davis made stops in Madison, Macoupin, and Montgomery counties.

In February, Davis and LaHood introduced legislation (H.R. 66 and H.R. 801) to establish a commission to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Route 66 and establish the route as a National Historic Trail. Butler introduced legislation in the Illinois State House (HB 66) to establishing a state Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission.

“I am proud to have America’s most iconic road run through the middle of my district and it’s important we celebrate its history,” said Davis. “From providing thousands of jobs during the Great Depression to transporting equipment and supplies for World War II to becoming a symbol of freedom and independence in the 1950s, Route 66 has been the ‘road to opportunity’ for millions of Americans throughout history and it continues to be a great economic driver for our state. Historical Route 66 and the businesses located along it are responsible for thousands of jobs and millions in state and local revenue to support our communities. I’m honored to celebrate the opening of this historic trail and look forward to celebrating 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026.”

“For nearly a century, Route 66 has been a crucial transportation artery for the heartland of America. Today’s tour once again highlighted just how important the Route is to our state and for the towns that have helped it gain its notoriety,” stated LaHood. “These towns, like Atlanta in my District, have seen the Mother Road keep employment and revenues up, leading to a higher quality of life and civic pride. Seeing these effects in person today was a reminder of the importance of maintaining and supporting Route 66 for future generations, which is why Congressman Davis and myself have introduced legislation that will ensure that the road continues to serve as a point of pride for not only the states it runs through, but for the entire country.”

“Route 66 is the most famous road in the world and Illinois lays claim to where the Mother Road begins,” said 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.”

County Board Chairman John McIntyre invited the lawmakers to attend a ribbon cutting in celebration of the completion of the Route 66 trail in Towanda.

“It’s an honor to have Congressmen Davis and LaHood here today to help us celebrate the completion of this Historic Route 66 Trail,” said McIntyre.”Route 66 helps drive economic success in McLean County and I appreciate our representatives for their national leadership to highlight its importance to our local communities. This trail will not only recognize Route 66’s history but also encourage more people and businesses to call these communities home.”

Route 66 Tour Schedule

Jungle Jim’s Café, Springfield

Who:
U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood
State Rep. Tim Butler
Bill Thomas, Chairman, Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership
Where: Jungle Jim’s, 1923 N Peoria Rd, Springfield, IL
Why: Jungle Jim’s Cafe is a quintessential roadside diner located directly on the 1930-40 alignment of Route. The cafe is famous for their all-day breakfast & other homestyle American diner food. Jim & Mary have been in business for over 20 years, providing for their family while serving others.

Rail-Splitter Covered Wagon, Lincoln

Who:
U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood
State Rep. Tim Butler
Bill Thomas, Chairman, Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership
Where: Rail-Splitter Covered Wagon, 1750 5th St., Lincoln, IL (inclement weather – across the street at the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1555 5th St.)
Why: The Rail-Splitter Covered Wagon, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest covered wagon in the world, is located on the front lawn of the Best Western Lincoln Inn, near historic Route 66. A 24-foot statue of Abe Lincoln reading a law book sits in the huge wooden wagon.


L to R: Davis, LaHood, Butler, Martha Neitzel (outgoing mayor), and Seth Goodman (incoming mayor).

 

The Palms Grille Café, Atlanta

Who:
U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood
State Rep. Tim Butler
Bill Thomas, Chairman, Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership
Where: The Palms Grille Café, 110 SW Arch St., Atlanta, IL
Why: Experience the Mother Road the way it used to be. Whether it’s the 1930’s-40’s music playing, or taking a seat at the counter in its squat stools, or enjoying your home-cooked meal with a glass of ice tea in real glassware, you’ll see first-hand how historic stops like The Palms Grille Café along Route 66 contributes to the significant increase of sales tax revenue of small towns like Atlanta, IL.


LaHood and Davis by a vintage car at the Palms Grille Cafe in Atlanta.

 

McLean County’s Historic Rt. 66 Bike Trail, Towanda

Who:
U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood
State Rep. Tim Butler
Bill Thomas, Chairman, Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership
McLean County Board Chairman John McIntyre
Where: McLean County’s Historic Rt. 66 Bike Trail – Boyd Wesley Park, Old Rt. 66, Towanda, IL
Why: To dedicate over 8 miles of recently completed Historic Route 66 Bike Trail by McLean County. To date, McLean County Historic Route 66 Trail project has completed over 15.4 miles of the 37.2 mile project.


Davis speaks at the ribbon cutting celebrating the completion of the Historic Route 66 Bike Trail in McLean County.

Route 66 Facts
• Route 66 covers roughly 2,400 miles- from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA (7 total states).
• Constructed in 1926, totally paved by 1937.
• Route 66 was officially decommissioned in 1985.
• In 2005, Route 66 was named a National Scenic Byway.

Route 66 Economic Impact
• Illinois: $34 billion expenditures, 292,540 jobs, $1.6 billion state taxes, and $815 million local taxes
• McLean County: $366 million tourism expenditures, 2,770 jobs, and $6.15 million local taxes
• Logan County: $39.77 million tourism expenditures, 180 jobs, and $530,000 local taxes
• Sangamon County: $431.7 million tourism expenditures, 3,340 jobs, and $8.21 million local taxes
• Macoupin County: $45.25 million tourism expenditures, 210 jobs, and $1.85 million local taxes
• Montgomery County: $102.1 million tourism expenditures, 910 jobs, and $1.57 million local taxes
• Madison County: $371.38 million tourism expenditures, 3,080 jobs, and $6.94 million local taxes
*According to the U.S. Travel Association

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