Yesterday's Afternoon Jolt picked on Republican state Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-42, Ferndale) for his lone "No" vote, in a lopsided 15-1 senate transportation committee vote, where nine Democrats and six republicans approved a program yesterday that would incentivize cities to consider bikes and pedestrians whenever city planners set out to build new streets.

Ericksen got back to us today (politely apologizing for not getting the message that we called yesterday until this morning), to explain his vote. "I'm all for bikes and trails," he said referencing a bill he'd proposed last year to fund trails with a local sales tax.

But he went on to explain that he has "a policy against approving empty buckets that set up the expectation that we'll fund something in the future."

Indeed, the "complete streets" bill,  a state grant program for local transportation projects that apply the bike and ped equation,  doesn't come with any budget appropriation.

Ericksen says that sort of legislation—earmarking future money (he cited current unfunded commitments such as the $40 million family leave bill and I-728 and 732 the school funding measures)—helps explain the current $5.2 billion budget shortfall.

Planned spending on the family leave bill is not part of the $5.2 billion deficit, but the school initiatives—at $1.1 billion—are.