Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board

Freedom of Information Act

Freedom of Information Act

The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of the Commonwealth Transportation Board under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located § 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.

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

Making a Request for records from the CTB

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 to not put it in writing.

For example, if you are requesting records maintained in an Excel database, you may elect to receive those records electronically, via e-mail or on a computer disk, or to receive a printed copy of those records

Holly D. Jones
VDOT Annex Bldg.
1401 E. Broad Street, 11th floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219
telephone: (804) 371-8696
fax: (804) 225-4700
e-mail: holly.jones@VDOT.Virginia.gov

You may also contact her with questions you have concerning requesting records from VDOT. 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 foiacouncil@leg.state.va.us, or by phone at (804) 225-3056 or [toll free] 1-866-448-4100.

CTB Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request

  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 the CTB 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.

Costs

Commonly used exemptions

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