FREE MARKET DIDN'T BEGET THE SUBURBS PUBLIC FUNDS DID

FREE MARKET DIDN'T BEGET THE SUBURBS PUBLIC FUNDS DID

Brian Doherty's recent opinion piece, ''Clubbing America with the anti-sprawl agenda' (Nov. 4, Page 6) is so filled with errors and misrepresentations that it borders on fiction.

Despite the venom of his attacks, not once does he hit on the Sierra Club's central argument: The sprawling suburbs of modern America are not the result of a free market; they are subsidized housing paid for by 50 years of federal, state and local spending.For example, in Prince William County, Va., the county experiences a shortfall of $1,688 for each new house built. Building the sewers, roads, schools and other infrastructure to support sprawling development is expensive. Taxpayers and municipalities, not developers, are subsidizing sprawl.

At the end of his piece, Mr. Doherty notes that though some may prefer city life, ''Other people want green space . . . Preserving this green space is precisely our goal! Smart growth, as discussed in our report, can help protect open space by guiding development into areas with the infrastructure to accommodate it.

By changing what incentives drive development, we can cut down on toxic pollution, preserve open space and create safe, livable communities.

The Sierra Club - the nation's oldest grassroots environmental organization and, with more than 550,000 members, its largest - is advocating for popular goals with sensible techniques.

It is a measure of the weak position of sprawl apologists that they must sink to name-calling and alarmist attacks to counter these ideas.

DERON LOVAAS

Sprawl Campaign Representative

Sierra Club

Washington