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Freedom of Information Requests

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was created to allow groups and individuals to request documents from public bodies in order to provide full participation in the democratic process.  SMART, as an agency created by the State of Michigan, is a public body and will comply with all requests according to the Act. 

How to Request Information

A request for information must be submitted in writing and be detailed enough for SMART to locate the record in question.  Requests may be submitted by personal delivery, by first class mail, or by email.  To ensure proper receipt, requests should be directed to the FOIA coordinator at the contact information provided below.

SMART
Attn: FOIA Coordinator
535 Griswold Street, Suite 600
Detroit, MI 48226

Email: foia@smartbus.org

How Requests Will Be Addressed

When a request for information has been received, SMART will provide an initial response within five business days.  At that time, SMART will either:

  • approve
  • approve in part,
  • deny, or
  • advise of the need for additional time to process the request.

If a request is approved, the requestor will receive an invoice detailing the fee for processing the request.  This fee is payable by personal or certified check only.  Once payment has been received, SMART will provide an opportunity for the requestor to inspect the records pertaining to the request.  When a requestor does not state the desired format of a response, SMART will, when appropriate, provided copies of the requested documents.

Fees

SMART has the right to request a fee for the costs of fulfilling a request made under the Freedom of Information Act.  All fees will be detailed and described according to the Act in an itemized invoice.  There are six potential categories of charges that will make up a fee.  These charges include: (1) labor costs for search, location and examination; (2) labor costs for separating, redacting and review; (3) labor costs for copying and duplication; (4) material costs for copying and duplication; (5) costs of other material (i.e. flash drive, compact disk); and (6) postage.  SMARTS’ current fee schedule is as follows:

 Category Fee
 1  $13.75 per hour
 2  $31.92 per hour
 3  $13.75 per hour
 4  $.10 per page
 5  Cost
 6  First Class Mail 
 Standard Rates

SMART may choose to waive this fee up to twenty dollars for certain indigent requestors that (a) request such a waiver as part of their request (b) provide proof of their status as such. 

How to Appeal a Decision

SMART is not obligated to disclose all information in its possession.  When information subject to an exception created under the Act is requested, SMART will deny the request either in whole or in part.  In such an event, SMART will provide an explanation detailing the reason for the denial and the relevant statutory exception.    

There are two non-exclusive avenues of appeal.  The first is by submitting a written appeal to the SMART General Manager that specifically states the word “Appeal” and identifies the reason for reversal or rebuttal.  SMART will provide a response to such an appeal within ten business days of its next scheduled board meeting.  If SMART maintains the denial, an individual will have the right to further appeal via the courts.

The second avenue of appeal is directly to the court system by commencing a civil action in an appropriate Circuit Court.  An appeal must be filed within 180 days after SMART’s final determination to reject a request.