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:
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.
Last updated: October 26, 2023