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Tobin: Federal rejection of Grand Canyon plan 'absurd'

PHOENIX -- The closure of the Grand Canyon National Park is hammering the economies of Tusayan, Page, Williams and others that rely on tourism as their lifeblood.

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin said the state -- along with private donations -- could foot the $500,000 cost that it would take to reopen the canyon through the month of October but the federal government won't consider it.

"We'd like to step in and get the Grand Canyon reopened. This is critical to Arizona's economy and they're refusing to take private or public dollars."

Tobin also lashed out at Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama.

"They're more interested in keeping Obamacare than opening up our parks," he said. "The message is loud and clear and I can't understand how they can do this to a state. I mean really? For one year we can't get a reprieve from Obamacare? They're holding our state hostage."

Tobin said the impact of the closure isn't limited to the communities surrounding the Grand Canyon. It has a ripple effect that could seriously dent Arizona's economy just when it is coming back strong from the recession.

"People don't just go to the Grand Canyon, they come to the Valley and other parts of the state," he said. "I'm very nervous about this and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. I live in rural Arizona and tourism is huge. I couldn't be more disgusted. It's one punch after another when it comes to Washington, D.C."

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About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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