PENN STATION — Mayor Bill de Blasio and his on-again, off-again sparring partner Gov. Andrew Cuomo rekindled their feud on Tuesday during an event to urge Congress to increase funding for a pending transportation bill.
Cuomo took umbrage that de Blasio invited Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to join in his bipartisan group of area elected officials holding a press conference in Penn Station on Tuesday — citing his former challenger's pro-life abortion stance and his statement that the U.S. shouldn't accept Syrian refugees.
"It is not a person who I would want to stand next to," Cuomo said Tuesday at an unrelated event at a Bed-Stuy food pantry. Cuomo did not attend the transportation press conference.
Astorino, speaking at Penn Station at the transportation event, called Cuomo's remarks "completely out of line."
Astorino then offered to provide Cuomo, a resident of Westchester County, with access to mental health services.
"Just from my observation, it seems the governor has some insecurities, and since he's a constituent of mine, I'd be more than happy to set him up with our department of community mental health if he actually needs a little help on this issue," Astorino said.
De Blasio smiled during Astorino's comments, but that's as far as it went.
"I don't agree with his last comment," de Blasio said when he retook the podium.
De Blasio said the governor had also worked to increase federal transportation funding for the state but that it was necessary to present a bipartisan front in order to gain traction on increased funding in Washington.
"If we are going to work in a bipartisan fashion, we're obviously going to work with people that we respect but also have respectful disagreements with," de Blasio said.
The officials present said the current proposal for the transportation funding bill, between $325 billion and $340 billion over six years in both the House and Senate, was inadequate.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler said they were hoping to either increase the funding or reduce the number of years over which the funding would be provided to around four years.
There is also an effort to remove language from one of the bills that would cut $80 million for urban areas like New York City.
Reduced transit funding has already had dire consequences, officials said, including a $900 billion cost just to get infrastructure such as roads, bridges and transit systems into a good state of repair.
De Blasio said the city has increased road and bridge infrastructure spending 50 percent over the last decade.
"We have had to take up a lot of the role that Washington used to and we can only go so far with the resources that this city has," de Blasio said.
Just $100 million of additional funding for New York City could support subway riders, pave 400 lane miles of road, implement traffic safety improvements at 50 schools, and help repair the city's 789 bridges, he said.