Your Sept. 7 editorial "HOT Politics" ignores the basic democratic concept that public facilities and services (schools, police protection, defense from foreign invasion, public highways, etc.) are not supposed to be provided in varying degrees depending on how much an individual pays.

HOV lanes are an incentive to reduce pollution and oil consumption. Allowing drivers of single-occupancy vehicles to buy into those lanes subverts their true purpose as well as one of the key lessons we teach our children in social studies classes: In America, we all receive the same service from our government, regardless of how much money you have at the moment.

-- David Sackrider

Round Hill

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Your editorial failed to mention an important constituency: service people driving their vans on the Capital Beltway.

For many of us who send vans and trucks to customers' homes around the region, the backups on the Beltway are exceptionally expensive. Having the option of using high-occupancy toll lanes to expedite the trips of our drivers would more than pay for itself and allow us to provide better service to our customers.

Drive on the Beltway virtually any time of day. You will see vans and trucks backed up in traffic along with cars filled with commuters. We're just trying to serve our customers and make a living.

Former Maryland governor Parris Glendening's focus on the "class" issue is totally misguided.

-- Barry Lowenthal

Washington