After a four-year fund-raising campaign that netted $400,000 in donations, the American Society of Landscape Architects has assumed title to its new headquarters in a historic Victorian town house.

The association received title to the town house, at 1733 Connecticut Ave. NW, on March 5 after tapping its 3,000 individual members, 600 landscape firms and other companies affiliated with landscape architecture for the $400,000 down payment.

The town house is in the Dupont Circle Historic Area, bounded by Florida Avenue and 22nd, 17th and M streets in Northwest Washington.

"All of our members can share a real sense of accomplishment," said ASLA President Robert H. Mortenson. "I am convinced that future generations of landscape architects and members of ASLA will look back on our vision and commitment with respect, admiration and appreciation."

The acquisition would have been impossible without the substantial tax credits available as preservation incentives for historic buildings, said an association spokesman. However, the Treasury Department has proposed eliminating such incentives under its current "tax simplification" proposal, said Cynthia Wilson, ALSA spokesman.

Under existing law, tax breaks of up to 25 percent of the construction costs of renovation and accelerated depreciation have made it possible to renovate 10,734 historic structures across the United States, generating an estimated $6.9 billion in private investment, Wilson said.

"If Congress eliminates the preservation tax incentives, many buildings which could be renovated and serve new purposes will be destroyed and historic landscapes will also be lost," said Mortenson.

According to association statistics, the ASLA is the only organization representing landscape architects in the United States. It was founded in 1899 with 11 members and today has more than 7,000 members in 48 chapters nationwide. TRADE

A coalition has been formed to lobby for the proposed Infrastructure Act, a bill that would provide $3 billion annually to improve the condition of the country's highways, transit systems, bridges, water and sewer systems.

Headed by Thomas J. Bulger and Edward D. Unger, two government relations consultants in Washington, the National Infrastructure Support Group is made up of 14 companies and associations that have an interest in the condition of the nation's transportation, sewer and water systems.

A few of the founding groups are the New York/New Jersey Port Authority, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the American Consulting Engineers Council.

"What the NISG will do is use the economic recovery to help halt the deterioration of the nation's infrastructure," said Bulger.

"Now that the economy is experiencing unprecedented growth, it is critical to turn our attention to necessary infrastructure programs that have recently been looked upon as frivolous," he added.

The Infrastructure Act was introduced in the 98th Congress, which adjourned in December, but died in committee. A similar bill, expected to be introduced shortly by Rep. James J. Howard (D-N.J.), chairman of the House Committee on Public Works and Transportation, would establish a National Infrastructure Fund that could provide interest-free loans to state and local governments. The loans would be distributed to each state on a population basis, generating an estimated $75 billion in infrastructure projects, said group spokesman Stephen Gaskill.

The funding would help to complete ongoing road and sewer projects and also help fund new ones, Gaskill said.

The original act was introduced in response to a Joint Economic Committee study titled, "Hard Choices: a Report on the Increasing Gap on America's Infrastructure Needs and Our Ability to Pay for Them." The study, released in February 1984, estimated the future infrastructure needs of 23 states, including Maryland.

The committee found that over the next 15 years Maryland would need $18 billion for the repair of its state and local highways and sewer, transit and water systems, including the Port of Baltimore. However, the study said, the state's funds will fall $4.3 billion short of its needs. The gap between the country's infrastructure needs and resources will be $450 billion, the study estimated.

Ed Abrahams, an economist with the committee, described the nation's infrastructure needs as a "slow but increasing crisis."

The NISG plans to support the passage of the act through a public education project featuring field meetings across the country and a strategy development project to target the specific infrastructure needs of each state.

"In the past few years, the states have not had the money to finish projects, and the roads and bridges have been ignored. Maybe now that many of the states have a surplus there will be an attitude that the smaller things like roads and bridges can be concentrated on," Gaskill said.

The Association of General Merchandising Chains has elected Samuel G. Leftwich, vice chairman of K mart Inc., as its chairman.

AGMC represents the interests of national, regional and local general merchandise chains, including discount and off-price stores, factory outlets and catalogue showrooms.

Richard C. Nelson, regional vice president and managing director of the Washington Hyatt Regency Hotel, has been elected president of the Hotel Association of Washington for a second term. The association represents 60 hotels in the District.

Gary L. Wilson, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Marriott Corp., has been appointed vice chairman of the American Hotel & Motel Association's Industry Real Estate Advisory Council. The council provides a forum for major investors in the lodging industry, focusing on current problems and opportunities in the development of hotels.

The Greater Merrifield Business and Professional Association Inc. has been formed to represent the business interests of the Merrifield community.

The group's priorities include improvement of the traffic flow in and through Merrifield, and presentation of its views on land use in Merrifield to public officials. The association currently has 60 member businesses.

The National Agriculture Chemicals Association has announced the appointment of Betsy S. Buchan as director of communications. Buchan was editor of Product Safety Letter, published by Washington Business Information Inc.

The American Medical Association's public relations division has published a free handbook for D.C. health-care professionals titled "Guidelines for Expanding Your Practice." Call 569-3095 to obtain a copy. PROFESSIONAL

The Investment Company Institute, the national association for the mutual fund industry, has appointed L. Erick Kanter, a former reporter, consultant and public affairs officer for the federal government, as its vice president for public information. He replaces Reginald F. D. Green, who has left the institute to establish his own mutual fund news and consulting service.

The National School Boards Association has announced two top staff appointments. August W. Steinhilber, formerly associate executive director and legal counsel of the Office of Federal Relations, has been named general counsel and associate executive director for the association's legal matters, and Michael A. Resnick, formerly assistant executive director, will take Steinhilber's place as associate executive director for the association.