I commend The Post for revealing Washington's infrastructure problems {"Aging Streets Leave City Bailing Against the Tide," front page, July 23}, but I am extremely disappointed that the issue was not covered for what it is, a national crisis.

Although the article stated that 18 bridges in the District are structurally deficient, it failed to mention that the U.S. Department of Transportation classified 40 percent of the 577,700 bridges in the United States as either deficient or obsolete. As for America's roads, the DOT rated the condition of a third of all roads receiving federal aid and half not receiving federal aid as "poor" to "fair."

The problem of deteriorating roads and bridges is a national crisis and should be dealt with as such. To ensure that America's roads and bridges are safe for commerce and travel will cost approximately $750 billion over the next 15 years.

Funding these repairs demands innovative leadership from Congress and the president. If crumbling roads and bridges are perceived only as a local problem, as the article portrayed the issue, the federal government has no reason to get involved.

Americans must be better informed about the dangers they face each time they use a car or bus. If the press covered this issue as a national crisis, more people would be justifiably alarmed. A concerned and well-informed public could then put the necessary pressure on public officials for increased federal funding for maintenance and repair of U.S. roads and bridges. JAKE WEST General President, International Association Of Bridge, Structural And Ornamental Iron Workers Washington