To request records from DRPT, you may direct your request to:

Andrew Wright
600 East Main Street, Suite 2102
Richmond, VA 23219
Fax: 804-225-3752

You may also contact her with questions about requesting records from DRPT. In addition, the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA. The Council may be contacted by e-mail at or by phone at 804-698-1810 or 1-866-448-4100. The online public comment form hosted by the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council can be found at

Rights and responsibilities:

  • The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located in § 2.2-3700 et. seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.
  • A public record is any writing or recording — regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format — that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies. DRPT maintains public records related to certain rail and transit projects and programs operated in the Commonwealth.
  • The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.


Your FOIA rights:

  • You have the right to request to inspect or receive copies of public records that DRPT possesses, or both.
  • You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.
  • If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA.


Making a request for records from DRPT:

  • You may request records by U.S. Mail, fax, email, in person, or over the phone. FOIA does not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to specifically state that you are requesting records under FOIA.
  • From a practical perspective, it may be helpful to both you and the person receiving your request to put your request in writing. This allows you to create a record of your request. It also gives us a clear statement of what records you are requesting so that there is no misunderstanding over a verbal request. However, we cannot refuse to respond to your FOIA request if you elect not to put it in writing.
  • Your request must identify the records you are seeking with “reasonable specificity.” This is a common-sense standard. It does not refer to or limit the volume or number of records that you are requesting; instead, it requires that you be specific enough so that we can identify and locate the records that you are seeking.
  • Your request must ask for existing records or documents. FOIA gives you a right to inspect or copy records; it does not apply to a situation where you are asking general questions about the work of the Agency, nor does it require DRPT to create a record that does not exist.
  • You may choose to receive electronic records in any format used by DRPT in the regular course of business. For example, if you are requesting records maintained in an Excel database, you may elect to receive those records electronically, via email or on a computer disk, or to receive a printed copy of those records.
  • We inform you in writing that the requested records cannot be found or do not exist (we do not have the records you want). However, if we know that another public body has the requested records, we must include contact information for the other public body in our response to you.
  • If we have questions about your request, please cooperate with DRPT staff efforts to clarify the type of records that you are seeking, or to attempt to reach a reasonable agreement about a response to a large request. Making a FOIA request is not an adversarial process, but we may need to discuss your request with you to ensure that we understand what records you are seeking.


DRPT’s responsibilities in responding to Your request:

  • DRPT must respond to your request within five working days of receiving it. “Day One” is considered the day after your request is received. The five-day period does not include weekends or holidays.
  • The reason behind your request for public records from DRPT is irrelevant, and we cannot ask you why you want the records before we respond to your request. FOIA does, however, allow DRPT to ask you to provide your name and legal address.
  • FOIA requires that DRPT make one of the following responses to your request within the five-day time period:
    1. We provide you with the records that you have requested in their entirety.
    2. We withhold all of the records that you have requested, because all of the records are subject to a specific statutory exemption. If all of the records are being withheld, we must send you a response in writing. That writing must identify the volume and subject matter of the records being withheld and state the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows us to withhold the records.
    3. We provide some of the records that you have requested, but withhold other records. We cannot withhold an entire record if only a portion of it is subject to an exemption. In that instance, we may redact the portion of the record that may be withheld, and must provide you with the remainder of the record. We must provide you with a written response stating the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows portions of the requested records to be withheld.
    4. If it is practically impossible for DRPT to respond to your request within the five-day period, we must state this in writing, explaining the conditions that make the response impossible. This will allow us seven additional working days to respond to your request, giving us a total of 12 working days to respond to your request.
  • If you make a request for a very large number of records, and we feel that we cannot provide the records to you within 12 days without disrupting our other organizational responsibilities, we may petition the court for additional time to respond to your request. However, FOIA requires that we make a reasonable effort to reach an agreement with you concerning the production or the records before we go to court to ask for more time.

The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure. DRPT commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions:

  • Personnel records (§ 2.2-3705.1 (1) of the Code of Virginia)
  • Records subject to attorney-client privilege (§ 2.2-3705.1 (2)) or attorney work product (§ 2.2-3705.1 (3))
  • Vendor proprietary information (§ 2.2-3705.1 (6))
  • Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract, prior to a contract being awarded (§ 2.2-3705.1 (12))


Costs Associated with FOIA Request

A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records and shall make all reasonable efforts to supply the requested records at the lowest possible cost. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. Prior to conducting a search for records, the public body shall notify the requester in writing that the public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for requested records and inquire of the requester whether he would like to request a cost estimate in advance of the supplying of the requested records as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.

FOIA requests should be answered without charge when the request will benefit the public interest and requires minimal and/or a reasonable amount of employee time and photocopying expense. 

You may have to pay for the records that you request from DRPT. FOIA allows us to charge for the actual costs of responding to FOIA requests. 

If we estimate that it will cost more than $200 to respond to your request, we may require you to pay a deposit, not to exceed the amount of the estimate, before proceeding with your request. The five days that we have to respond to your request does not include the time between when we ask for a deposit and when you respond. 

DRPT assesses fees according to the following guidelines: 

  • If the FOIA request requires approximately two hours or more of staff time, assessed fees will be based on the actual cost of the search, retrieval and redaction of records. The fee for the search, retrieval or redaction of records shall not exceed the prorated hourly salary or hourly wage of the lowest paid employee reasonably able to respond to the request.
    • The prorated hourly salary of an employee is determined by dividing that employee’s salary by 1,950 hours (or less if part time) and multiplying that figure by the number of hours required to search for, retrieve and redact the requested records.
    • Example: If providing records requires an employee with a yearly salary of $50,000 four hours to search for, retrieve and redact the requested records, the associated fee would be $102.56 (50,000.00/1,950 X 4), plus any costs of photocopying, postage, fax, and/or electronic storage devices.
  •  If the FOIA request requires copying 100 pages or more printed on front and back, the charge would be calculated at 10 cents per page for every page over 100.
  • If the FOIA request requires postage, fax, or an electronic data storage device (e.g., thumb drive), the charge would be the actual cost associated with the process or device.
  • Fees for photocopying, employee and administrative time, and postage, fax or electronic storage devices are assessed separately and will be cumulative.
  • In determining whether a fee is warranted and in calculating the amount required, one or more related FOIA requests from the same individual or organization will be considered as a single request.
  • Charges generally will not be levied for making records accessible for review unless it is determined that considerable time by knowledgeable staff will be required for reviewing documents with the requester.
  • Any individual making a FOIA request will be notified that DRPT may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual costs incurred responding to the request and will ask the requestor if they would like to request a cost estimate. DRPT will provide a cost estimate if requested.
  • You may request that we estimate in advance the charges for supplying the records that you have requested. This will allow you to know about any costs upfront or give you the opportunity to modify your request in an attempt to lower the estimated costs.  Before DRPT will respond to a FOIA request for which you have requested a cost estimate, you must provide a response to DRPT that confirms you are willing to pay for DRPT to process the request. DRPT’s deadline to respond is extended for the amount of time you take to agree to pay the estimated costs. If the estimated costs are greater than the actual costs, you will only be charged for the actual costs.
  • If you owe us money from a previous FOIA request that has remained unpaid for more than 30 days, DRPT may require payment of the past-due bill before it will respond to your new FOIA request.
  • Payment for FOIA requests should be made payable to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. Checks and money orders related to a FOIA request should be forwarded to the Administration Division of DRPT and should reference the FOIA request associated with the payment. Payment will be deposited and credited to the division or office which provided the information to respond to the FOIA request.
  • Charges may be waived or levied at the discretion of the Chief of External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives.