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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, is a Federal law that gives you the right to access Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) records unless FRA reasonably foresees that the release of the information in those records would harm an interest protected by one or more of the nine exemptions (such as business proprietary, personal privacy, and investigative documents) or release is prohibited by law. The FRA is an operating administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation and subject to the Department’s FOIA Regulation (49 C.F.R. Part 7).  For more guidance on the FOIA requirement and exemptions, visit the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Information Policy webpage at https://www.justice.gov/oip.

Before making a FOIA request, you may find the information you seek on FRA’s website or in FRA’s e-library: https://railroads.dot.gov/elibrary-search

How to Make a FOIA Request

In recognition of the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and following the Department’s guidance to take all necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of the Department’s workforce, the FOIA team is working remotely and not able to process any requests mailed or faxed to the office.  Any requests received by mail or fax after Monday, March 16, 2020, may not be processed until employees can return safely to the office.   If you wish to resubmit your request, please send it to the following e-mail address: FRAFOIA@dot.gov.
 
Any person can file a FOIA request, including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, organizations, associations and universities.
 
Address your request to: Freedom of Information Act Coordinator.
 
Requests may be submitted by mail, email, fax or in person at the address or fax number identified below.   Please do not submit duplicate copies of the same request.
 
E-mail to FRAFOIA@dot.gov is the preferred and most expeditious method for sending your request. 
 
If you wish, you may send your request in person, via mail, or by facsimile to the address or number below:
 
Freedom of Information Office
Office of Chief Counsel
Federal Railroad Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, Stop 10
Washington, D.C.   20590
(202) 493-6068

No matter which method you use to send your request, you must:

  • Make your request in writing.
  • Indicate that you are making a request pursuant to FOIA.
  • Mark the envelope “FOIA Request” if you mail your request.
  • Be specific as to the record(s) you are seeking (e.g., include the title of the document, for accident reports include the date and location, including city and county, of the accident, FRA Accident Report Number (if known), U.S. DOT-AAR Crossing Number (for crossing accidents), and the age/date of birth of any injured individuals).
  • Include your telephone number, email address, and fax number so that we can contact you if we have any questions and a return address so we can send any responsive records.
  • Indicate whether you are requesting information in paper form (FRA sends records in electronic form whenever possible).
  • Indicate your fee category, willingness to pay fees, and state the maximum fees you are willing to pay.
  • Our fee schedule is addressed in section 7.46 of the Department' s FOIA Regulation (49 C.F.R. Part 7).
  • You may pay FOIA Fees by Credit Card or Personal Check.
  • If you have received a final determination from the agency that assesses FOIA processing charges, these fees may be paid by credit card by visiting http://www.pay.gov/paygov.
  • If you pay FOIA processing charges by personal check your check will be converted into an electronic fund transfer.

All FOIA requests are processed in the Office of Chief Counsel at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.  For questions, email: FRAFOIA@dot.gov
 
Additional Resources
FOIA Public Liaison:
Timothy Barkley
(202) 493-1305

Last updated: Friday, July 17, 2020