Tom Grubisich {"In Fairfax, the Growth Hasn't Been All Bad," Close to Home, Nov. 8} discusses solutions for Fairfax County's vehicular gridlock as if he had communities more the size of Claremont, N.H., or Beckley, W. Va., in mind, not a community the size of Fairfax County.

He totally ignores what every northeasterner knows to be a fact: the only solution is mass transportation, not ever wider roads.

In Fairfax, residents have for years paid a four-cent tax per gallon of gas purchased, having been told when the tax was instituted that it was to help pay for Metro. I respectfully submit to Mr. Grubisich that for people living in Mt. Vernon, Burke, Lorton, Annandale, Chantilly -- to name just a few outlying communities -- they've been ripped off for years: Where is their Metro?

The northeasterner (read: Philadelphia, New York and Boston resident) has had the readily available transport of his area at hand for years. In contrast, Mr. Grubisich perpetuates the myopia of the community "leaders" in this area, seeing only the highway as the solution, rather than the multipassenger bus, train or trolley.

HENRY J. WATERS Woodbridge

I think the time has come for the media and the citizenry to start asking serious questions about the purpose of building-industry ads calling for more roads in Northern Virginia. Does the building industry propaganda derive from altruistic concern about the plight of the commuter? Or could it be that the major result of new roads will be further enrichment of the builders?

If the building industry really wants to move traffic, why isn't it campaigning to make such new arteries as the Springfield Bypass and the Manassas Bypass true bypasses, with grade-separated interchanges of limited number -- rather than cross streets and traffic lights that will surely generate more gridlock?

Finally, can any Virginian locked in traffic from the Beltway to the Potomac bridges even begin to believe that all the traffic will magically disappear if a new highway is built from Stafford around the far side of Quantico Marine Base and then to the general vicinity of Leesburg?

Oh, yes, we most certainly do have a gridlock problem. Yes, we need some carefully planned and located new roads -- roads that are designed to move traffic and protected from overbuilding along their routes. We also need transportation alternatives such as better rail and bus systems.

What we don't need is blind, unthinking approval of the builders' siren call for new roads, or we'll just end up with more of the mess the builders are making of Northern Virginia. A federal study has already labeled the proposed Outer Beltway "a focal point for development" that would do almost nothing to relieve existing congestion. Essentially, the Outer Beltway would simply open an additional 1,000 square miles of Northern Virginia for building industry profiteering.

Rather than listen to the builders' propaganda, I think we had better heed the mayor of Vienna, who wrote recently in this newspaper: "Let us not kid ourselves. The land development issue is controversial because it involves major concentrations of corporate and personal wealth and constitutes a highly visible business by which great fortunes can be made and expanded very quickly. And all of these resources are being deployed with consummate skill to mold supportive public policy."

ROBERT T. DENNIS President, Piedmont Environmental Council Warrenton