Three Jan. 6 letters addressed the serious problem of increasing local traffic congestion; all require comment.

Daryl P. Domning is correct in ascribing this problem to population growth, but wrong to blame birthrates. The increase results from the influx of employers to this area over the past several years, and unless this growth can be curbed, neither new roads nor improved public transportation can halt the descent into chaos.

Patrick DeCorla-Souza favors express lanes on the Beltway; drivers will pay for the privilege in the form of tolls, while those who choose to get stuck in the regular lanes will receive cash compensation funded by the toll receipts. "Bizarre" is the most appropriate adjective to describe such a scheme, but "unfair" comes a close second. Overall congestion will remain the same.

M. C. Bragdon assumes that adding lanes to I-66 will increase air pollution, but the opposite should be the case, because enabling traffic to move more efficiently would allow vehicles to spend less time on the highway stuck in traffic. The theory that additional lanes generate more traffic is false, and observations that appear to support that theory (for example, on I-270) result instead from the population increase discussed above.

ANTHONY B. MAUGER

Kensington