(1) The department is authorized to establish a program for highway projects demonstrating innovative techniques of highway construction, maintenance, and finance which have the intended effect of controlling time and cost increases on construction projects. Such techniques may include, but are not limited to, state-of-the-art technology for pavement, safety, and other aspects of highway construction and maintenance; innovative bidding and financing techniques; accelerated construction procedures; and those techniques that have the potential to reduce project life cycle costs. To the maximum extent practical, the department must use the existing process to award and administer construction and maintenance contracts. When specific innovative techniques are to be used, the department is not required to adhere to those provisions of law that would prevent, preclude, or in any way prohibit the department from using the innovative technique. However, prior to using an innovative technique that is inconsistent with another provision of law, the department must document in writing the need for the exception and identify what benefits the traveling public and the affected community are anticipated to receive. The department may enter into no more than $120 million in contracts annually for the purposes authorized by this section.
(2) The annual cap on contracts provided in subsection (1) shall not apply to:
(a) Turnpike enterprise projects, and turnpike enterprise projects shall not be counted toward the department’s annual cap.
(b) Transportation projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.