Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), set out in § 2.2-3700 et. seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the commonwealth 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 Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) maintains a wide variety of public records including, but not limited to:

  • Traffic studies.
  • Transportation project files.
  • Regulations, policies and procedures related to state transportation.
  • Studies conducted by and for VDOT.
  • Transportation statistics.
  • Financial and budgetary information.
  • General information concerning current and proposed construction and maintenance projects, special-purpose programs (revenue sharing, recreational access, economic development access), and procurement.

The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities and afford every opportunity to citizens to witness the operations of the government.

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, 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. Alternatively, you may contact the FOIA Council for a nonbinding advisory opinion.

Additional Information

For additional information about FOIA and FOIA requests, please visit the VDOT website.

Last updated: March 19, 2024

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