Expiring law could leave Route 66 towns without key funding

In this May 19, 2017 photo, the Route 66 Diner, once a gas station is shown in Albuquerque, N.M. Route 66, the American Mother Road that once connected motorists from Illinois to California, may lose its place in a National Park Service's preservation program, ending years of efforts aimed at reviving old tourist spots in struggling towns. A federal law authorizing the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is set to expire in two years. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Route 66, the historic American roadway that linked Chicago to the West Coast, soon may be dropped from a National Park Service preservation program.

A federal law authorizing the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is set to expire in two years and with it would go millions of dollars in grants for reviving old tourist spots in struggling towns.

Landmarks Illinois director Frank Butterfield says small communities could miss out on much needed economic development funding.

The program has helped finance projects like the El Vado Motel neon sign restoration in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Baxter Springs Independent Oil and Gas Station restoration in Kansas.

Decommissioned as a U.S. highway in 1985, Route 66 went through eight states, connecting tourists with friendly diners and motor lodges in small towns.

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