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Port Arthur: Texas State Regents Add $4.9M Commercial Driver Education Facility at Lamar State to CIP

Feature Photo: View of the Lamar State College-Port Arthur campus. Image: Google Streets.

Posted: 5-24-2021

by Adolfo Pesquera

Port Arthur (Jefferson County) — The Texas State University System Board of Regents added a Commercial Driver Education and Examination Center project at Lamar State College-Port Arthur to the 2021-2026 Capital Improvement Program.

The regents agreed to the addition Friday, May 21, during their spring quarterly meeting. The majority of the funding, $4.3 million, comes from a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration grant that was announced in February.

The EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant is accompanied by a local match of $619,000 and a donation of 20 acres along U.S. 69 between Beaumont and Port Arthur. In September 2020, Jefferson County Commissioners Court provided the land to the college for the project. Drainage District 7 and Soutex Surveyors worked in cooperation to create roughly 10 acres of retention ponds on the project site, LSCPA Dean of Workforce Training Dr. Ben Stafford said in a LSCPA news release.

According to The Port Arthur News, the selection process for an architect and general contractor began in March. The publication also stated that construction must begin by March 2023, however, Stafford stated they expect to see construction start in under one year, and have the facility occupied by the third or fourth quarter of 2022.

The project is a cooperative effort between Lamar State and Jefferson County that addresses the worsening backlog in commercial driver examination occurring throughout the state. Once complete, the facility will cover more than 20 acres of land in CDL examination lanes, covered testing and practice areas, a new commercial driver training building, parking lot and retention ponds.

The scope of project as described in Friday’s summary to the Board of Regents includes a 5,500 square-foot training building, a 1,000 square-foot testing building and two large, covered testing areas on 23.69 acres of land located on FM 3514. The testing area will include four examination lanes on concrete pavement, and two detention ponds.

In the briefing materials to the regents, it was emphasized that Port Arthur is fast becoming a major hub for the export of liquid natural gas (LNG). Golden Pass LNG and Sempra Energy are adding liquefaction and export capabilities in the area at a combined construction cost of $20 billion.

These projects require a projected workforce of over 13,000 craftsmen, and more than 1,600 CDL operators.

The Port Arthur News explained that the Golden Pass and Sempra projects each cover about 100 acres of wetlands. This creates an environmental mitigation obligation; for every acre of wetland covered, two acres must be created. This generates the need for ever more CDL drivers.

“One off-road dump truck can feed up to four road-worthy dump trucks. While the main LNG projects haven’t begun, there is work underway to move Texas 87 more inland. This means a fleet of 60 to 80 dump trucks on the road,” according to a Port Arthur News report.

VBX Project ID 2021-38F7

Approximate location of the proposed CDL Education & Examination Center. Image: Google Earth/VBX graphic.


Related Images

Construction Preview
By |2021-05-24T12:01:53-05:00May 24th, 2021|Construction Preview, Feature Story|

About the Author:

Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.

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