Instructions for Submitting a FOIA Request
Policy: In keeping with the spirit and intent of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), it is the policy of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) to make records available to the public to the greatest extent possible.
How to Submit a Request: A request for information under the FOIA must be in writing and should be signed by the requesting party. The request should indicate that the information is sought under the FOIA. The requester should provide as much detail as possible concerning the documents sought to facilitate the search for responsive records. This will also help to reduce processing fees.
The request may be mailed or delivered to:
Sharron H. Hawkins
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
Freedom of Information Office
1 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
To facilitate the delivery of the request, the words "FOIA Request" should appear on both the letter and the envelope. If desired, requests may be faxed to (202) 906-2169.
Contents of the Request: No special form or format is required for a FOIA request. However, the request should provide the following information:
- The name and address of the requester, and the telephone number at which the requester can be reached during normal business hours.
- A reasonable description of the records sought that will enable Amtrak's staff to identify and produce the records sought with reasonable effort.
- The fee category recommended by the requester. The fee categories are listed below:
- Category I: Commercial Use
- Category II: News Media
- Category III: Educational or Noncommercial Scientific Institution
- Category IV: Other
A statement indicating that the requester will pay all applicable processing fees or that the requester is willing to pay up to a specified amount.
- The requester may also seek a fee waiver. Refer to Amtrak's FOIA regulations regarding the criteria for granting a fee waiver (49 CFR 701.11).
Fees: Amtrak charges $38 per hour for search and review and 25 cents per page for reproduction of documents up to 8 1/2 x 14 inches on a standard office copier.
There is no charge for processing a request if applicable fees are less than $10.
Fee Categories: Processing costs are assessed for each of the fee categories as described below:
- Category I -- Commercial Use: Search, review, and reproduction charges.
- Category II -- News Media: Duplication charges; the first 100 pages are provided without charge.
- Category III -- Educational or Noncommercial, Scientific Institution: Duplication charges; the first 100 pages are provided without charge.
- Other: A request that cannot be classified in the three categories above. Search and duplication charges only; the first two hours of search time and the first 100 pages are provided free of charge.
Why Some Requests Are Not Granted
It is Amtrak's policy to make records publicly available unless they qualify for one or more of the nine exemptions under the FOIA or the (c) (1), (c)(2), and (c)(3) exclusions. Some requests, however, cannot be granted because of the need to protect confidential, privileged, or proprietary information; personal privacy interests; ongoing law enforcement proceedings or records concerning Amtrak's decision-making process. For these reasons, Amtrak may be unable to disclose certain records or parts of records.
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