Seldom has one edition of a newspaper {Nov. 29} carried so much "good news" for the long suffering commuter. A Metro story treats us to the idea of tolls on the American Legion and Wilson bridges. Really! Did anyone stop to think about where they would put the toll booths?

After three years of construction on the Beltway between Georgia Avenue and Virginia Route 193, highway planners now want to put up what is effectively a barrier to traffic. I have no objection to paying the toll; my objection is that I (and thousands of other commuters) will have to stop to pay it. This is nonsense. This is 24-hours-a-day gridlock. The officials who proposed this clearly do not cross bridges.

Next we find Jessica Mathews proposing that we collect insurance premiums through gas stations by way of yet another bureaucracy {"Pay as You Drive," op-ed}. What? Has Dr. Mathews never visited a local motor vehicle administration to view the carnage firsthand?

I agree with Dr. Mathews that we are "choking ... on the automobile." But adding another layer of bureaucrats will not help and neither will stopping traffic at two places on the Beltway. What will help is about a $1-per-gallon gas tax used for public transportation: light rail (read Metro around the Beltway) and buses and busways (no cars). HOV lanes will not do it. BOB BAILEY Silver Spring