(1) Except as otherwise provided in RCW 47.60.826
, the department shall use a modified request for proposals process when purchasing new auto ferries, except for new 144-auto ferries purchased through an option on a contract executed before July 6, 2015, whereby the prevailing shipbuilder and the department engage in a design and build partnership for the design and construction of the auto ferries. The process consists of the three phases described in subsection (3) of this section.
(2) Throughout the three phases described in subsection (3) of this section, the department shall employ an independent owner's representative to serve as a third-party intermediary between the department and the proposers, and subsequently the successful proposer. However, this representative shall serve only during the development and construction of the first vessel constructed as part of a new class of vessels developed after July 6, 2015. The independent owner's representative shall:
(a) Serve as the department's primary advocate and communicator with the proposers and successful proposer;
(b) Perform project quality oversight;
(c) Manage any change order requests;
(d) Ensure that the contract is adhered to and the department's best interests are considered in all decisions; and
(e) Possess knowledge of and experience with inland waterways, Puget Sound vessel operations, the propulsion system of the new vessels, and Washington state ferries operations.
(a) "Phase one" means the evaluation and selection of proposers to participate in development of technical proposals in phase two.
(b) "Phase two" means the preparation of technical proposals by the selected proposers in consultation with the department.
(c) "Phase three" means the submittal and evaluation of bids, the award of the contract to the successful proposer, and the design and construction of the auto ferries.
(4) The department may modify an existing option contract executed prior to July 6, 2015, to allow for the purchase of up to five additional 144-auto ferries, for a total of nine 144-auto ferries. The department must execute a new modification to an existing option contract for each of the additional five ferries.