Missouri and Kansas supporters are optimistic that the iconic Route 66 is on the road to becoming part of a National Historic Trail.

U.S. Senators Tom Udall of New Mexico and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma announced this week that a bipartisan bill would include Route 66 in the National Trails System Act.

The route connected Chicago to Los Angeles and was an economic boon for small towns, including communities in Missouri and southeast Kansas,  before the interstate system was built. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill in June.

Supporters say the designation would revitalize towns along the historic corridor. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a similar bill in June.

The proposal would allow the National Park Service to administer Route 66. The agency would award federal funds for preservation, development and promotion.

by the Associated Press, photo by Riggwelter