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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

How to Make a FOIA Request

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a Federal statute that affords any person the right to obtain access to Federal agency records, unless the records (or a part of the records) are protected from disclosure by one of the nine exemptions or by one of the three special law enforcement record exclusions contained in the law.   FOIA provides for access to agency records, it is not an appropriate vehicle for posing questions of the agency.  

Submitting FOIA Requests

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 are able to return safely to the office.   If you wish to resubmit your request, please send it to the following e-mail address:

 When making a FOIA request for FRA records:

  • You must address it to the proper component of the Department of Transportation.   For Federal Railroad Administration records, direct your request to the following address:  

    Freedom of Information Act Coordinator
    Office of Chief Counsel
    Federal Railroad Administration
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, Stop 10
    Washington, D.C.   20590

    E-mail address: 

  • You must make your request in writing.  

  • You should indicate that you are making a request pursuant to FOIA and your should mark the envelope FOIA Request if you mail your request.   

  • Your written request should describe the records requested to the fullest extent possible.   Be reasonably specific as to the record(s) you are seeking (i.e., 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 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.  

  • Requests may be submitted by mail, email, fax or in person at the address or fax number identified above.   Please do not submit duplicate copies of the same request.    

  • Indicate the format in which you wish to receive the responsive records.  

  • Fees may be charged.   Please indicate your fee category, willingness to pay fees, and state the maximum amount of fees that you are willing to pay. Our fee schedule is addressed in section 7.46 of the Department' s FOIA Regulation.

  • 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

  • If you pay FOIA processing charges by personal check your check will be converted into an electronic fund transfer.