WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $1 million for the state of West Virginia to develop a state rail plan that will serve as a blueprint for guiding the state’s rail investment strategies.

“This plan will help West Virginia identify rail lines that will best serve shippers and passengers well into the future,” said LaHood. “It is an important part of the President’s plan to win the future by targeting critical rail projects.”

The grant will be matched by $1 million from the State of West Virginia. The plan will inventory existing freight and passenger rail lines in the state and analyze the potential for new freight, high-speed, intercity and commuter corridors, including tourist railroads.

“Planning for freight and passenger rail has been ignored for too many years, and state rail plans will create a sound basis for future, targeted investment,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “Such plans are all part of the President’s long term vision to best use our railroads and create new opportunities for rail.”

To date, more than $5.3 billion has been obligated to states under the Federal Railroad Administration’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program. The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 requires each state to develop a State Rail Plan. The plan is also required for any application for additional intercity passenger rail grants.