WisDOT Open records

It is the Department’s policy that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of the Department and the official acts of its offices and employees – consistent with the Public Records Law, Wis. Stats. §§ 19.31-19.39.

Access to Agency records

Identifying records

A request must reasonably describe the records sought (e.g., specific documents concerning a specific subject, project, etc.,) in order to understand what records are requested and to avoid any delays caused by misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Time for responding

The Department will respond to record requests as soon as practicable and without delay. Small and straightforward requests will be completed within 10 business days of receipt whenever it is practicable to do so. More complicated requests, such as ones involving more than one person keeping the records or requiring review, may take longer. If requesting an update on the status of a records request, the department will respond within 5 business days.

Information not on record

The Department is not required to create a new record by extracting and compiling information from existing records into a new format or record.

Withheld records

Certain records are not available for inspection or copying because access may be prohibited by state or federal law or controlling court decisions. If a record you request is withheld, in whole or in part, you will be provided a written explanation of the reasons for doing so.

Costs

Section 19.35(3), Wis. Stats. authorizes the Department to impose fees in responding to Open Records requests. WisDOT may charge the actual, necessary and direct cost of record location, shipping and reproduction.

  • WisDOT’s cost for photocopies is $0.15 per printed page and at $.07 per page for converting paper records to electronic format, except where otherwise set by law.
  • A mailing or shipping fee may also be charged reflecting the actual, necessary and direct cost of shipping or mailing a record.
  • If the record search cost exceeds $50, WisDOT may charge the actual, necessary and direct cost of locating the records at the hourly rate of the lowest-paid employee capable of performing the task. The hourly rate, however, may not exceed $30 per hour.
  • WisDOT may require a prepayment of any fees if the total copying or eligible search fees exceed $5.

Electronic records

When requested and whenever practicable, the Department will provide electronic copies of records that already exist in an electronic format. Reproduction costs will not be charged if the Department provides electronic copies of records that already exist in electronic format. But costs for computer disks or tapes, central processing unit and staff time needed to run the computer to produce the record may be assessed.

Redacted information

Fees will not be charged for the time taken by Department staff to separate, suppress or redact confidential or non-disclosable information from materials provided in response to Open Records requests.

Sales tax

Sales tax is not charged for searches or copies of materials that are public records unless the records are produced expressly for the purpose of sale.

WisDOT records request process

  1. WisDOT will acknowledge record requests submitted to the email address listed below within one (1) business day of receipt. Your request will be reviewed and routed to the business area responsible for the records you have requested.
  2. Once contacted, the Records Custodian will review your request to determine if the record or records exist. Any request for a record must reasonably describe the record or information sought.
  3. Once your request has been reviewed, and the Records Custodian determines existence of the record and accessibility, the Records Custodian may inform you of any applicable fees and provide you with a copy, upon payment, of the record requested or allow you to inspect the record information, and provide a place for that review.
  4. Check for payment of records fees must be made payable for the exact amount to: Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Email your records request

To submit your request for public records, email dotopenrecords@dot.wi.gov or go directly to the Department business area holding the records, if known.

Access Notice Under § 19.34, Stats