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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of April 22, 2014

Title 49: Transportation
PART 7—PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION


Subpart F—Fees


Contents
§7.41   General.
§7.42   Payment of fees.
§7.43   Fee schedule.
§7.44   Services performed without charge or at a reduced charge.
§7.45   Transcripts.
§7.46   Alternative sources of information.

§7.41   General.

(a) This subpart prescribes fees for services performed for the public under subparts B and C of this part by DOT.

(b) All terms defined by FOIA apply to this subpart, and the term “hourly rate” means the actual hourly base pay for a civilian employee.

(c) This subpart applies to all employees of DOT, including those of non-appropriated fund activities of the Maritime Administration.

(d) This subpart does not apply to any special study, special statistical compilation, table, or other record requested under 49 U.S.C. 329(c). The fee for the performance of such a service is the actual cost of the work involved in compiling the record. All such fees received by DOT in payment of the cost of such work are deposited in a separate account administered under the direction of the Secretary, and may be used for the ordinary expenses incidental to providing the information.

(e) This subpart does not apply to requests from record subjects for records about themselves in DOT systems of records, which are determined in accordance with the Privacy Act, as implemented by DOT regulations (49 CFR part 10).

[Amdt. 1, 63 FR 38331, July 16, 1998, as amended at 73 FR 33328, June 12, 2008]

§7.42   Payment of fees.

(a) The fees prescribed in this subpart may be paid by check, draft, or money order, payable to the DOT component where fees were incurred, for deposit in the General Fund of the Treasury of the United States, e.g. DOT/FAA.

(b) Charges may be assessed by DOT for time spent searching for requested records even if the search fails to locate records or the records located are determined to be exempt from disclosure. In addition, if records are requested for commercial use, DOT may assess a fee for time spent reviewing any responsive records located to determine whether they are exempt from disclosure.

(c) When it is estimated that the search charges, review charges, duplication fees, or any combination of fees that could be charged to the requestor will likely exceed US $25, the requestor will be notified of the estimated amount of the fees, unless the requestor has indicated in advance his or her willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. In cases where a requestor has been notified that actual or estimated fees may amount to more than US $25, the request will be deemed not to have been received until the requestor has agreed to pay the anticipated total fee. The notice will also inform the requestor how to consult with the appropriate DOT officials with the object of reformulating the request to meet his or her needs at a lower cost.

(d) Payment of fees may be required prior to actual duplication or delivery of any releasable records to a requestor. However, advance payment, i.e., before work is commenced or continued on a request, may not be required unless:

(1) Allowable charges that a requestor may be required to pay are likely to exceed US $250; or

(2) The requestor has failed to pay within 30 days of the billing date fees charged for a previous request to any part of DOT.

(e) When paragraph (d)(1) of this section applies, the requestor will be notified of the likely cost and, where he/she has a history of prompt payment of FOIA fees, requested to furnish satisfactory assurance of full payment of FOIA fees. Where the requestor does not have any history of payment, he or she may be required to make advance payment of any amount up to the full estimated charges.

(f) When paragraph (d)(2) of this section applies, the requestor will be required to demonstrate that the fee has, in fact, been paid or to pay the full amount owed, including any applicable interest, late handling charges, and penalty charges as discussed in paragraphs (g) and (h) of this section. The requestor will also be required to make an advance payment of the full amount of the estimated fee before processing of a new request or continuation of a pending request is begun.

(g) DOT will assess interest on an unpaid bill starting on the 31st day following the day on which the notice of the amount due is first mailed to the requestor. Interest will accrue from the date of the notice of amount due and will be at the rate prescribed in 31 U.S.C. 3717. Receipt by DOT of a payment for the full amount of the fees owed within 30 calendar days after the date of the initial billing will stay the accrual of interest, even if the payment has not been processed.

(h) If payment of fees charged is not received within 30 calendar days after the date the initial notice of the amount due is first mailed to the requestor, an administrative charge will be assessed by DOT to cover the cost of processing and handling the delinquent claim. In addition, a penalty charge will be applied with respect to any principal amount of a debt that is more than 90 days past due. Where appropriate, other steps permitted by Federal debt collection statutes, including disclosure to consumer reporting agencies and use of collection agencies, will be used by DOT to encourage payment of amounts overdue.

(i) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subpart, when the total amount of fees that could be charged for a particular request (or aggregation of requests) under subpart C of this part, after taking into account all services that must be provided free of, or at a reduced, charge, is less than US $10.00 DOT will not make any charge for fees.

§7.43   Fee schedule.

The rates for manual searching, computer operator/programmer time and time spent reviewing records will be calculated based on the grades and rates established by the Washington-Baltimore Federal White-Collar Pay Schedule or equivalent grades, as follows:

When performed by employees:

GS-1 through GS-8—Hourly rate of GS-5 step 7 plus 16%

GS-9 through GS-14—Hourly rate of GS-12 step 7 plus 16%

GS-15 and above—Hourly rate of GS-15 step 7 plus 16%

(a) The standard fee for a manual search to locate a record requested under subpart C of this part, including making it available for inspection, will be determined by multiplying the searcher's rate as calculated from the chart in this section and the time spent conducting the search.

(b) The standard fee for a computer search for a record requested under subpart C of this part is the actual cost. This includes the cost of operating the central processing unit for the time directly attributable to searching for records responsive to a FOIA request and the operator/programmer's rate as calculated from the chart for costs apportionable to the search.

(c) The standard fee for review of records requested under subpart C of this part is the reviewer's rate as calculated from the chart multiplied by the time he/she spent determining whether the requested records are exempt from mandatory disclosure.

(d) The standard fee for duplication of a record requested under subpart C of this part is determined as follows:

(1) Per copy of each page (not larger than 8.5×14 inches) reproduced by photocopy or similar means (includes costs of personnel and equipment)—US $0.10.

(2) Per copy prepared by computer such as tapes or printout—actual costs, including operator time.

(3) Per copy prepared by any other method of duplication—actual direct cost of production.

(e) Depending upon the category of requestor, and the use for which the records are requested, in some cases the fees computed in accordance with the standard fee schedule in paragraph (d) of this section will either be reduced or not charged, as prescribed by other provisions of this subpart.

(f) The following special services not required by FOIA may be made available upon request, at the stated fees: Certified copies of documents, with DOT or DOT component seal (where authorized)—US $4.00; or true copy, without seal—US $2.00.

§7.44   Services performed without charge or at a reduced charge.

(a) A fee is not to be charged to any requestor making a request under subpart C of this part for the first two hours of search time unless the records are requested for commercial use. For purposes of this subpart, when a computer search is required two hours of search time will be considered spent when the hourly costs of operating the central processing unit used to perform the search added to the computer operator's salary cost (hourly rate plus 16 percent) equals two hours of the computer operator's salary costs (hourly rate plus 16 percent).

(b) A fee is not to be charged for any time spent searching for a record requested under subpart C if the records are not for commercial use and the requestor is a representative of the news media, an educational institution whose purpose is scholarly research, or a non-commercial scientific institution whose purpose is scientific research.

(c) A fee is not to be charged for duplication of the first 100 pages (standard paper, not larger than 8.5×14 inches) of records provided to any requestor in response to a request under Subpart C unless the records are requested for commercial use.

(d) A fee is not to be charged to any requestor under subpart C to determine whether a record is exempt from mandatory disclosure unless the record is requested for commercial use. A review charge may not be charged except with respect to an initial review to determine the applicability of a particular exemption to a particular record or portion of a record. A review charge may not be assessed for review at the administrative appeal level. When records or portions of records withheld in full under an exemption that is subsequently determined not to apply are reviewed again to determine the applicability of other exemptions not previously considered, this is considered an initial review for purposes of assessing a review charge.

(e) Documents will be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if the official having initial denial authority determines that disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requestor.

(f) Factors to be considered by DOT officials authorized to determine whether a waiver or reduction of fees will be granted include:

(1) Whether the subject matter of the requested records concerns the operations or activities of the Federal government;

(2) Whether the disclosure is likely to contribute to an understanding of Federal government operations or activities;

(3) Whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to the understanding of the public at large, as opposed to the individual understanding of the requestor or a narrow segment of interested persons;

(4) Whether the contribution to public understanding of Federal government operations or activities will be significant;

(5) Whether the requestor has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure; and

(6) Whether the magnitude of any identified commercial interest to the requestor is sufficiently large in comparison with the public interest in disclosure that disclosure is primarily in the commercial interest of the requestor.

(g) Documents will be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if the official having initial denial authority determines that the request concerns records related to the death of an immediate family member who was, at the time of death, a DOT employee.

(h) Documents will be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if the official having initial denial authority determines that the request is by the victim of a crime who seeks the record of the trial at which the requestor testified.

[Amdt. 1, 63 FR 38331, July 16, 1998, as amended at 73 FR 33328, June 12, 2008]

§7.45   Transcripts.

Transcripts of hearings or oral arguments are available for inspection. Where transcripts are prepared by a nongovernmental contractor, and the contract permits DOT to handle the reproduction of further copies, §7.43 applies. Where the contract for transcription services reserves the sales privilege to the reporting service, any duplicate copies must be purchased directly from the reporting service.

§7.46   Alternative sources of information.

In the interest of making documents of general interest publicly available at as low a cost as possible, alternative sources will be arranged whenever possible. In appropriate instances, material that is published and offered for sale may be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402; U.S. Department of Commerce's National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Springfield, Virginia 22151; or National Audio-Visual Center, National Archives and Records Administration, Capital Heights, MD 20743-3701.



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