The AP has reported that two shipyards that want to build four 144-car vessels for Washington State Ferries have filed protests with the state Transportation Department
, complaining that state officials are making it difficult for them to bid on the project.
Shipyards and J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding say the state seeks to dictate the new ferries' design — a violation of the statute governing the design-build partnership process — while assigning all risks to the bidder.
Both companies have been approved by the state to bid on the four-ferry contract.
State Transportation said the shipyards were in on early discussions about the design-build contract provisions, and supported the increased risk assumption.
The protest letters were sent Oct. 2 by Todd, based in Seattle, and third-Martinac in Tacoma. Todd, founded in 1916, built the ferry system's three new boats in the 1990s.
State officials responded Oct. 16, asking the two yards to comment on each other's complaints by Monday.