MotorCities National Heritage Area

May 6, 2022

U.S. Senate Committee Approves Legislation Key to the Future of National Heritage Areas
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources advances legislation that benefits MotorCities National Heritage Area

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources advanced an amended version of the National Heritage Area Act, or S. 1942, that will provide long-term authorization for America’s National Heritage Areas (NHAs) and a steady stream of federal funding for these critical designations, including MotorCities National Heritage Area located in Michigan. The Committee approved the legislation on Tuesday, May 3, without opposition through a bipartisan voice vote.

S. 1942 is originally sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and has 15 bipartisan co-sponsors. Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and David McKinley (R-WV) are sponsoring similar legislation in the House.

“MotorCities National Heritage Area applauds this action by the Senate Committee. In particular, we are immensely grateful to Michigan’s Senator Stabenow, who, by creating this legislation, protects not only the preservation of Michigan’s auto and labor history, but also protects the nationally significant stories of the 54 other national heritage areas across the country”, said Shawn Pomaville-Size, Executive Director at the MotorCities National Heritage Area. “Her tireless efforts are why the National Heritage Area Act is one step closer to the finish line.”

The National Heritage Area Act establishes standard criteria for the funding, management, and designation of National Heritage Areas across the country and sets an annual authorization of up to $1 million for all National Heritage Areas. S. 1942 brings all current national heritage areas under one legislative umbrella, instead of separate, individual legislation for each national heritage area, making them simpler for the National Park Service to manage and eliminating a system of rolling reauthorizations. If enacted, the National Heritage Area Act would prevent future authorization cliffs. 

Established in 1998 and headquartered in Detroit, the MotorCities National Heritage Area Partnership is a nonprofit corporation affiliated with the National Park Service that serves 16 counties representing a population of over 6.5 million. Its mission is to preserve, interpret and promote the region’s rich automotive and labor heritage while enabling, supporting and respecting its diversity, equity and inclusion. Regional programs inspire residents and visitors with an appreciation for how the automobile changed Michigan, the nation, and the world. Each year, MotorCities generates $489.7 million in economic impact, supporting 5,343 jobs and producing $40 million in tax revenue in Michigan. Over its 24-year history, MotorCities has awarded more than 300 grants for a total investment in local programs of more than $1.6 million. 

President Ronald Reagan established National Heritage Areas in 1984 when he signed a bill that created the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Area. Since then, 54 additional NHAs have been created across the United States, all through community-led efforts. 

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