I recently read several pieces in The Post regarding the economic characteristics of the D.C. area. Among the statistics was a reference to a labor shortage in the suburbs and a relatively high unemployment rate (7.5 percent) in the center city. The difference was attributed to inadequate transportation.

I say hogwash! As a visitor to this city, I see one of the world's finest transportation systems. Its hub lies in the heart of the impoverished area, and any suburb can be reached within 40 minutes. Buses radiate from the Metro stations to reach within blocks of every home. It is preposterous to believe that a transportation system that brings at least 100,000 people from the suburbs and back each day has no seats available for reverse direction.

Contrast this with my home town, Houston, which has a primitive public transportation system. Last year the Texas Medical Center opened a new facility. Two-hundred fifty jobs were advertised, most for maids, janitors and orderlies at $4 to $5 an hour. Two thousand people applied in person, most driving 10 to 20 miles to do so.

Why should attitudes differ so much? Perhaps they are based on expectations. The Houston Post reported that the D.C. politicians were proclaiming it a national disgrace that the nation's capital was surrounded by impoverished people and were clamoring for something (aid) to be done about it. In my opinion, the national disgrace is that a) the politicians think a 12-mile Metro ride is too much to ask of anyone and b) that working people should be taxed to subsidize voluntary immobility.

GORDON H. OTTO Houston