The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guarantees citizens of Virginia and representatives of the media access to public records. A public record is a writing or recording, regardless of format, that is prepared in the transaction of public business. The public record may be owned by or in the possession of the public body, its officers, employees or agents.
Hampton Roads Transit is a public agency that strives to keep the public informed about its work. HRT’s FOIA policy can be accessed at the link below. It spells out in clear language how the law works and your rights and responsibilities.
In short, a citizen of Virginia has the right to request HRT’s public records. You may request to inspect and/or receive copies of HRT’s public records. HRT has the right to charge a reasonable fee to locate, copy and produce the records you request. Typically, HRT only imposes this fee when a substantial number of documents are requested or when it will take a significant amount of time to locate and provide the records to you. HRT requires pre-payment for any record request it estimates will cost $200 or more to answer.
HRT must respond to your request within five working days of receiving it. “Day One” is considered the day after your request is received. The five-day period does not include weekends or holidays.
At the conclusion of the five day period, HRT will either: 1) Provide you with the requested records; 2) Provide you with an estimate of the cost to comply with your record request and ask for prepayment; 3) Provide you with a written response declaring the requested records exempt from production (Some requests will include both exempt and non-exempt records. In those circumstances, the non-exempt records (or portions thereof) will be produced. A listing of the most common FOIA exemptions can be found in HRT’s FOIA policy.); 4) Provide you with a written response declaring that the requested records cannot be located or do not exist; or 5) Request more time to comply with the record request.
There is no specific way that a FOIA request must be made. Requests can be made orally or in writing. HRT prefers that FOIA requests be made in writing. A written FOIA request allows HRT to refer back to the specific inquiry, ask questions to clarify the scope of your request, and to make sure it is providing you with the documents you want. A link to a FOIA Request Form is below.
The FOIA Officer for HRT is Tom Holden. Mr. Holden can be reached at:
HAMPTON ROADS TRANSIT
ATTN: FOIA Officer
509 East 18th Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23504
Mr. Holden serves as a point of contact for members of the public requesting HRT’s public records and coordinates HRT’s response to all FOIA requests. Any questions regarding FOIA or public record requests from HRT should be directed to Mr. Holden.