Last updated: 06:27 PM ET, Sun March 08 2015

Bill Allowing Pets on Amtrak Passes House

Car Rental & Rail | Amtrak | Michael Isenbek | March 08, 2015

Bill Allowing Pets on Amtrak Passes House

Image courtesy of Thinkstock/Nicolette Neish

As reported by Travelpulse’s own Patrick Clarke, a bill was filed by Congress a few weeks ago that, if passed, would require Amtrak to allow pets aboard trains, beyond the currently-allowed service animals. This bill, dubbed the Pets on Trains Act, part of the much larger Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act, has just passed by the House of Representatives, USA Today Travel announced.

The larger act provides federal subsidies totalling $7.2 billion for Amtrak and other U.S. rail services, while the Pets on Trains Act allowed Amtrak to designate at least one car pet friendly.

The crusade to allow man’s best friend and other species of small, tame furry animals aboard Amtrak trains was spearheaded by Calif. Rep. Jeff Denham, who was miffed that he could not bring Lily, his prized French bulldog, aboard. Placing the issue in the larger context of the American family, Denham stated in a Facebook posting that “this widely bipartisan legislation would help families nationwide save money and time in traveling with their pets while bringing in much-needed revenue for Amtrak.”

But there will be rules and conditions. During Amtrak’s test run of the whole “pets on trains” idea, staged on a few Illinois routes, animal plus carrier could weigh no more than 20 lbs, and the carrier had to fit under the seat. The cost way $25 each way. Bloomberg said the program will be limited to the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C., but could include journeys “as long as 750 miles between endpoints.”

The bill still has to pass the Senate, but it has the blessings of the Obama administration.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States approved of the new Amtrak/pet program. He said to USA Today that traveling together will “support the human-animal bond.”

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