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Cuomo wades into fight between de Blasio's administration and Uber -- and Kate Upton weighs in

Josh Mohrer, general manager of Uber New York,

Josh Mohrer, general manager of Uber New York, speaks to the media, while a group of Uber supporters rally outside City Hall in Manhattan, on June 30, 2015. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday waded into the fight between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration and the app-dispatched livery service Uber, saying he doesn't believe "government should be in the business of trying to restrict job growth."

Cuomo in a WCNY radio interview said restrictions may just lead Uber to move to Long Island and Westchester, offer jobs there and drive into the city.

De Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell immediately countered that the governor is "mistaken" on what types of vehicles can work in New York City.

For-hire vehicles from beyond the five boroughs may only drop off or pick up passengers in New York City as part of a trip outside the city, Norvell said.

The City Council is set to vote as early as Thursday on two bills backed by de Blasio to cap the number of for-hire vehicles on city roads while conducting a yearlong environmental review of their impact.

The rapidly expanding Uber, which said it has 26,000 full- and part-time vehicles in the city, would be limited to only an additional 200 vehicles in the next year.

De Blasio has said a "multibillion-dollar corporation" is worried only about its bottom line and is trying to skirt government regulation.

Uber said the cap would come at a loss of 10,000 potential driver job opportunities.

"This is a very complicated issue, and it's getting more complicated by the day," Cuomo said on "The Capitol Pressroom."

He said the proposed legislation may be futile: "Wouldn't that just cause the Uber franchises to go to Nassau and Westchester and Suffolk and set up their franchises there and drive into the city?"

In a statement to reporters, Norvell responded: "Only vehicles licensed by New York City's TLC [Taxi and Limousine Commission] can pick and drop off a passenger for a ride within the city. Licensed for-hire vehicles from Nassau and Westchester can only either drop off or pick up a rider in New York City as part of a trip outside the city."

Curbing Uber's growth of 2,000 vehicles monthly is matter of easing congestion, supporting the public transit system and addressing handicap-accessibility concerns, Wiley said.

The traditional yellow taxicab and limousine industry, which competes with Uber and similar services, contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to de Blasio's 2013 mayoral campaign.

Uber has launched a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to oppose the bills at debate in the City Council.

Bhairavi Desai, founder of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, at a news conference in front of City Hall later Wednesday, said that many Uber drivers make only supplementary income using their personal vehicles, so the company shouldn't misrepresent itself as paying a "living wage."

City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), a sponsor on both bills, said at the rally he has enough of his colleagues' votes to pass them and called Uber "Walmart on wheels."

The taxi group and allies in labor urged the use of #UberShady on social media to highlight what they said was the company's questionable motives and practices.

A pro-Uber movement -- #UberMovesNYC -- had also cropped up, with model and actress Kate Upton among those weighing in.

".@BilldeBlasio Why do you want to return to days when only those in Midtown & Lower Manhattan could get a ride?" she tweeted.


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