(1) The department of transportation shall work with representatives of transportation labor groups to develop a financial incentive program to aid in retention and recruitment of employee classifications where problems exist and program delivery is negatively affected. The department's financial incentive program must be reviewed and approved by the legislature before it can be implemented. This program must support the goal of enhancing project delivery timelines as outlined in section 101, chapter 363, Laws of 2003. Upon receiving approval from the legislature, the office of financial management shall implement, as required, specific aspects of the financial incentive package, as developed by the department of transportation.
(2) Notwithstanding chapter 41.06
RCW, the department of transportation may acquire services from qualified private firms in order to deliver the transportation construction program to the public. Services may be acquired solely for augmenting the department's workforce capacity and only when the department's transportation construction program cannot be delivered through its existing or readily available workforce. The department of transportation shall work with representatives of transportation labor groups to develop and implement a program identifying those projects requiring contracted services while establishing a program as defined in subsection (1) of this section to provide the classified personnel necessary to deliver future construction programs. The procedures for acquiring construction engineering services from private firms may not be used to displace existing state employees nor diminish the number of existing classified positions in the present construction program. The acquisition procedures must be in accordance with chapter 39.80
(3) Starting in December 2004, and biennially thereafter, the secretary shall report to the transportation committees of the legislature on the use of construction engineering services from private firms authorized under this section. The information provided to the committees must include an assessment of the benefits and costs associated with using construction engineering services, or other services, from private firms, and a comparison of public versus private sector costs. The secretary may act on these findings to ensure the most cost-effective means of service delivery.