Key West voters say no to large cruise ships

By Tom Stieghorst
Key West residents have voted against asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study widening the ship channel to accommodate larger cruise ships.

The vote was 4,531-1,630 against the study, according to newspaper reports.

Dredging the channel from 300 feet to 450 feet in width would displace 150,000 cubic yards of seafloor protected by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The $3 million study would lay out the economic benefits and environmental costs of the project.

Cruise passengers spend about $80 million annually in Key West.

The vote pitted some business interests against a group called Key West Committee for Responsible Tourism, which opposes the project.

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