Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated in a radio interview on Friday that providing access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants would bolster public safety in the state.

“I want to make sure people on the road have a driver’s license and have taken a test and are qualified,” Cuomo said in an interview on WXXI in Rochester. “From a state point of view, we don’t do immigration policy. Yes, I support it, it is very controversial. But people often overlook the public safety standpoint, especially with this immigration debate.”

It’s Cuomo’s most expansive comments this year on the issue as Democrats in the Legislature seek a vote by the end of the legislative session, due to conclude next month.

Supporters of driver’s license access for undocumented immigrants point to the insurance and public safety benefits of the measure and Cuomo’s comments on Friday largely are reflective of their arguments.

Democrats in the state Assembly have signaled they would be supportive of the measure and are undertaking a public campaign to push for the legislation.

Some lawmakers who have raised concerns with the legislation have won some changes to the bill, such as allowing law enforcement to perform background checks during traffic stops.

Republicans have blasted the legislation and called for carve outs for county clerks who manage local motor vehicle offices to be exempt from having to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented people living in the state.

The issue has been a controversial one for the last decade. Twelve years ago, then-Gov. Eliot Sptizer backed a plan to do so, but withdrew amid opposition.

Cuomo said he supported the proposal at the time, but that it was done “frankly in a rushed manner and didn’t really explain it.”