As Hurricane Dorian approaches, the state has activated its gas price-gouging hotline as AAA and Florida 511 offer advice and websites to help before, during and after the storm.
The approach of Hurricane Dorian is signalling some preventive measures out of Tallahassee for drivers, as AAA offered suggestions for everyone on the eve of the storm.
Travelers should closely monitor the hurricane’s approach and be prepared to adjust plans based on advice from local authorities, the association said. The storm is forecast to strengthen into a major hurricane before making landfall somewhere along Florida’s eastern coast next week.
No matter where the storm makes landfall, its effects could be felt throughout much of the state, AAA said. The potential of strong winds, heavy downpours and flooding would create dangerous conditions on Florida roadways.
“Dorian has the potential to cause flight cancellations, altered cruise itineraries and extremely hazardous conditions on the road,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. “AAA urges travelers to monitor weather reports closely and follow the advice of authorities. Travelers concerned about their flight or cruise should check online or contact their travel provider for a status update. Those planning a road trip should plan ahead and make arrangements to be off the road if and when severe weather strikes.”
Find tips on preparing a home for the storm, including pre and post-storm checklists via AAA.
The Florida Department of Transportation is urging residents and motorists to keep in touch on Twitter as part of hurricane preparedness plans.
Meanwhile, although AAA predicted Labor Day gas prices would be the lowest in years, state officials are ready to fight gas pump price gouging before and after the hurricane.
Attorney General Ashley Moody activated the state’s Price-Gouging Hotline for consumers statewide as Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties.
State law prohibits excessive increases in the price of essential commodities such as food, water, hotel rooms, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency, Moody said. Violators of the price-gouging statute are subject to civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a single 24-hour period.
In addition to the civil penalties for price gouging, state law criminalizes the sale of goods and services to the public without possession of a business tax receipt. Violators of the law can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, her office said.
Gas price gouging can be called in to (866) 967-8226 or download the state’s new “No Scam” reporting app. The app lets users send pictures of prices on signs and products; capture and report receipts; write narratives of interactions with sellers; report evidence of prices of identical products by different sellers in the same vicinity; and capture additional supporting documentation. The attorney general’s app can be downloaded for free through Apple and Android stores by searching No Scam.
As for normal traffic issues:
• With Saturday’s Florida State/Boise State college football game moved out of Jacksonville to Tallahassee, the JTA is offering automatic refunds for fans who bought tickets through the MyJTA app for its Gameday Xpress to and from TIAA Bank Field. Customers can expect to see those funds returned on or before Tuesday.
Those who bought paper tickets may return them for refunds at JTA’s administrative offices at 121 W. Forsyth St., the Rosa Parks Transit Station at 201 W. Union St. or its Myrtle Avenue Operations Campus at 100 N. Myrtle Ave., as well as its Armsdale and Avenues Walk Park-n-Ride sites. The Gameday Xpress returns Sept. 8 for the Jacksonville Jaguars season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
For any changes in JTA operations during or post-storm, check @JTAFLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
• The Florida Department of Transportation has another roadway project on tap in Jacksonville and an open house to show it off. Set from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Regency Square Branch Library at 9900 Regency Square Blvd., the meeting will present proposals to update Beach Boulevard’s roadway, signals, striping and medians between Southside Boulevard and Eve Drive.
Visitors can view displays and discuss the proposed changes with project staff and consultants, with no formal presentation made. Proposed improvements include a new signal-controlled median U-turn intersection on eastbound Beach to northbound Southside, as well as on westbound Beach to southbound Southside. New traffic signals, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and driveway modifications are planned, plus new overhead and post-mounted signs and pavement markings.
Have any traffic or road project-related questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549