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'NY Needs Uber' coalition pushes ride sharing app

Uber, the app-based ride-booking service, is shown on

Uber, the app-based ride-booking service, is shown on a smartphone in this photo.

The formation of a "NY Needs Uber" coalition that includes "Sopranos" and "Goodfellas" actress Lorraine Bracco and members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving was announced Wednesday to support ride-sharing and push for statewide regulation of the popular app-based taxi-hailing service and similar companies.

Uber pulled out of East Hampton Town in June after its New York City-based drivers were unable to meet local licensing requirements that call for cabdrivers to have an East Hampton address. Last week, Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said the service might be able to return if an idea floated by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo becomes a law that would supersede local measures.

Cuomo spoke about creating a statewide system for regulating ride companies during questioning last month at an unrelated event. "You can't do Uber city by city," he said. "This would be a statewide franchise."

In an interview last week, East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he would not support statewide regulation that supersedes local taxi laws.

Other coalition members include Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Rep. Chris Collins (R-Clarence), the New York Restaurant Association and Heather C. Briccetti, president and chief executive of the Business Council of New York State.

"The diverse group of New York leaders joining our coalition is a testament to the huge demand we are seeing for Uber in every corner of the State," Josh Mohrer, general manager of Uber NY, said Wednesday in an emailed statement. "Students, MADD, mayors, members of Congress, and other community leaders recognize that Uber can offer job growth, economic opportunity and safe, reliable and affordable rides to New Yorkers."

In a mission statement announcing the group's formation, coalition members said they "want to see Albany leaders embrace new technology that will build on the Empire State's economic revitalization. We support ridesharing services like Uber which has the potential to create 13,000 jobs in one year and make our communities safer by reducing drunk driving accidents."

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