De Blasio raps Biden for LaGuardia comment

Feb. 7, 2014 at 4:44 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio ripped U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Friday for his "inappropriate" comparison of LaGuardia Airport to a "third-world country."

"I respect the vice president, but I think his comments were inappropriate," de Blasio said during a news conference.

Speaking in Philadelphia Thursday at Amtrak's unveiling of its newest engine, Biden offered the comparison while discussing infrastructure, the New York Daily News reported.

"Why did we lead the world economically for so long? We had the most modern infrastructure in the world," Biden said.

Then he offered this scenario:

"If I blindfolded someone and took them at 2 in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said where do you think you are, they'd say, 'This must be America. It's a modern airport,'" Biden said. "But if I blindfolded you and took you to LaGuardia Airport in New York, you must think, 'I must be in some third-world country.' I'm not joking."

De Blasio also defended the airport's employees, Time magazine reported.

"LaGuardia, obviously, needs an upgrade," the mayor said. "But that being said, the airport manages an extraordinary amount of traffic, and the people who work there make it work under very difficult circumstances."

LaGuardia -- one of the busiest airports in the world -- is frequently criticized for the condition of its main terminal. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans last month for the state to take over a major rehabilitation project at LaGuardia from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, to speed up the process.

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